#12 Auburn vs #5 Ole Miss
- TUE: 7-4 L
In the end, there was no furious comeback, there was no spectacular walk off to keep things going. There was definitely fight, plenty of it in fact. In the end, however, Ole Miss proved too much for Auburn in the SEC Tournament and the Tigers season came to a close in Hoover with a 7-4 decision. Jack Owen looked ok-ish on short rest, which isn’t anything to cry about and the Auburn bullpen was spectacular, expect on one pitch which was a 2 run homer to Hayden Dunhurst to push the Rebs to their final 7th run. Auburn’s offense was pretty good too, Ryan Bliss being the tip of the spear.
Ryan Bliss (‘21 Elig.) leads off the game for @AuburnBaseball with a home run on the big breaking ball taking it deep to left center. The draft stock continues to tick up with his consistent offensive production at the top of the order #PGDraft pic.twitter.com/n8Q7nbvKIF— PG College Baseball (@PGCollegeBall) May 26, 2021
Bliss led of the game with a solo homer and for a moment, there was belief that the Tigers could pull this off. Following that Doug Nikhazy settled in and only allowed one more run on his watch in the 5th. Auburn would get as close a one run away from Ole Miss in the 7th on the back of a Garrett Farquhar double and a Bliss single but, as good teams do, Ole Miss answered with that two run homer in the bottom half of the inning. Cody Greenhill, who had been out since the LSU game back at the beginning of the month, came in and pitched the 8th inning for the Tigers to finish the season on the mound. It’s too cliché to say that this game was a microcosm of the season (and it wasn’t because it wasn’t a one run loss), but it did highlight the things that this Auburn team did well. They believed, they fought and they never ever gave up.
Thank you to the 2021 Auburn Tigers. We can’t wait to see what you do next.
ON DECK: The Offseason
Was this the season any of us that follow Auburn baseball saw coming? Absolutely not. Do I think the Auburn staff will figure this thing out and right the ship? With everything in my body I do. This staff is way too experienced and way too dedicated to not get this right. A couple of dates and time frames to keep on your radar, the MLB draft has been moved (FINALLY!) to July 11-13 and will only be 20 rounds this season before they probably go back to the regular 40 next year. Normally players have a month or so to sign with the team that drafted them or decided to return to school if they have eligibility left. Following that, Auburn will open Fall practice in late September – October and then turn around in January to get ready to the 2022 campaign.
It’s always the worst article to write, the close of a season. The last two were really rough, one because it came waaaay too early and the other because of the journey they took us on. This one is somewhere in the middle of that. It’s definitely sad, for sure. I hate that Steven Williams didn’t get one last at bat in front of a vocal Auburn crowd at the Met for his final SEC Tournament. I hate that Cody Greenhill didn’t have the senior year that he deserved. I hate that Ryan Bliss got robbed of the recognition he deserves as the best Shortstop in the SEC, which he without question is. However, at the same time, I am so happy. I’m happy that Peyton Glavine got his moments to shine this year after the journey he has had to go on. I’m happy that Brody Moore got the chance to shine as a second generation Auburn Tiger. I’m happy and proud of Rankin Woley, who was an absolute monster the last half of the season and will do even greater things if his baseball career really is finished. I tip my cap to Judd Ward, who went all Bo Jackson this season, playing around 85% if not less all year and only allowed his play to dip to that of a normal left fielder a couple of times since February. And, finally, to the team and coaching staff, a major tip of the cap. It would have been so easy to just say forget it on April 30th. Auburn had a conference record of 3-16 and had just lost the opener to Georgia. From that day on, Auburn closed the conference slate with a 7-4 record and fought their way to get back to Hoover when it would have been much easier to toss the towel in. That effort is not lost to those that know college baseball and know the Auburn program and while it isn’t surprising, it still needs to be acknowledged. There will be better days for this program in the future, but I’m not sure I could be prouder of this Coach Thompson, his staff and this team than I am for the fight they put forth this season and especially this final month.