Arkansas vs #14 Auburn
- Game 10 (TUE): 11-1 L
You knew it was a big ask. You knew it was probably too much.
This team that was picked last by the coaches in the conference, not the media talking heads that say they know college baseball, but the actual coaches that are in it every day, those people said that this team was good enough for last in the division. And was juuuuust good enough to edge out Missouri, who in fact did finish last in the conference.
Yet, that’s not how that went did it? This team finished 5th in the SEC and if it didn’t stub its toe against Kentucky, might have been #4 at worst, did everything it could to scrap out wins and stay away from being swept. This Auburn team didn’t lose more than two in a row all season. It hosted the first regional in Auburn since 2010 and swept through it in three games for the first time ever. They went to the #3 overall seed Oregon State for the Super Regional, a place where the Beavers had never lost a Super. Now they have. Tripped up by a rag tag bunch of Tigers that never said no.
They then went to Omaha and faced one of the two hottest teams in the country right now, and never could get the offense going. Facing elimination, they took on the #2 overall seed in Stanford and spurred on by an under the weather effort by Cole Foster, came back to send the Cardinal home and give Auburn their first victory in Omaha in 25 years, just their fourth all time.
That set up another meeting with another SEC West team that knew exactly how to play Auburn. The Tigers held their own on the mound for the first couple of innings but a hot Arkansas finally broke through in the 3rd to officially put it out of reach. Everything after that was just window dressing. Meanwhile, at the plate, Auburn again struggled to get any offense going against Will McIntyre who used the advanced scouting report to pitch Auburn the exact way a division opponent should know how to.
Bobby Peirce copied what Connor Davis did a few years back, leaving Omaha with one final blast as the Tigers went down.
Bobby puts us on the board with a blast. pic.twitter.com/nBFnD2nKr0— Auburn Baseball (@AuburnBaseball) June 22, 2022
So that does it for the season. A season where I personally thought this team could be a 3 seed in some regional or, if the cards fell right, they could host a regional, but Omaha? That would be a little ambitious. Not only did the host and win, but they were one of the last six baseball teams playing. Hell, yesterday was the beginning of Summer, AUBURN HAD A BASEBALL GAME.
The job that this team, the staff and the support around the program did to get them there cannot be understated. Auburn is perhaps 13th in the conference in recruiting abilities, mainly because of the lack of a state lottery (check the other 12 SEC schools, they all have one) (just look at Tennessee, think about how quick they turned it around from nothing to a #1 overall seed...yeah...). Yet, Butch Thompson and staff has turned this program into a 2 time Omaha team in 3 tournaments. Auburn has now been to 4 Super Regionals. Before Butch, it was 1, and Hal Baird was the coach that did that. Auburn has won 9 straight regional games, dating back to the Raleigh Regional against NC State.
This team should be more than proud of what it was able to do this season. I know I am proud for them.
Today stinks because we don’t have another game to look forward too. It’s ok that it stinks. It’s supposed to. However, tomorrow should make you smile just a little when you hear this song.
See, its already doing it.
This Auburn baseball team was a lot of fun to watch and get to know. I hate that it came to an end tantalizingly close to the ultimate goal, but sometimes that’s how it goes. In the end though, I lean back on what Butch Thompson said at the beginning of the tournament this year.
The next thing of interest for Auburn baseball is the MLB Draft to see if any Tigers get snatched up by the Bigs. The Draft is July 17th-19th this season. I would expect to see a Blake Burkhalter for sure get his name called and I am hoping for a few others. With the extra Covid year, I know a few players can come back for another season, but we really won’t know until the fall roster is released to see if and who comes back for one more go. As things are announced, we will have all that info here and on Twitter. Until then, thank you so much for following Auburn baseball this season and thank you for taking time to read my ramblings on what the guys did this year. This is my favorite sports program bar-none, and I hope a little bit of that comes through here. See you guys in the fall and War Eagle.