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Auburn Baseball Starts Season With Visions of Omaha

By on February 20th, 2018 in Baseball, News 1 Comment »

All-American Casey Mize is one of six players nationally to be named to the 2017 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. The junior pitched six shutout innings in Auburn's opener. (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

The 2017 Auburn baseball team surprised a lot of people. Picked in the preseason to finish last in the SEC West, the Tigers played most of the season at the top of the league until injuries slowed down their momentum.

No one expected Auburn to finish any higher than last place in the league, yet the Tigers came within one strike of playing in their first Super Regional since 1999. Butch Thompson’s experience in helping take teams to the postseason was a big factor in Auburn getting there and finishing with 37 wins despite going through six weeks  at the end of the year without pitchers  Casey Mize or a healthy Keegan Thompson.

Even so, Auburn earned a berth in the Tallahassee Regional. And it looked for awhile as if the Tigers might be playing in their first Super Regional in 18 years. That dream ended in game two of the Regional Championship round against Florida State.

The Tigers had a couple of opportunities to win the championship in the ninth and tenth innings of the first best of two game championship finals. However, cruel fate and a field umpire’s bad call on a double play intervened to prevent that from happening.

That loss put the Tigers in a precarious position. Auburn’s best chance to make it to the next level was to win it in three games. With Mize, Cole Lipscomb, and Keegan Thompson unable to pitch, the Tiger bats had to produce. That didn’t happen as Auburn was baffled by the junk-throwing Will Zirzow, and the season ended in at Dick Howser Stadium. The Seminoles went on to play in the College World Series.

The closeness of Auburn making it to the College World Series left the Tigers disappointed but motivated to make 2018 ‘the’ year. There are 17 players back from that team and they are determined to build on last year and maybe lead the 18 new players to Omaha.

Two positives that could help the Tigers reach their goal this season are the return of All-American Casey Mize and the hiring of former Major Leaguer Gabe Gross as the Tigers’ hitting coach. Gross is one of the greatest players in the history of Auburn Baseball. The first round draft pick was a three-year starter for Auburn from 1999-2001, a two time All-SEC outfielder, and a first-team All-American in 2000 when he led the Southeastern Conference in hitting with a .430 batting average.

Those reasons coupled with last year’s success should help the Tigers reach the next level in 2018. Thompson said last season his vision of the next level is the College World Series. This year the third year coach said,  “As heart breaking as it was not to acquire one more positive pitch in a regional last year … I do believe that vision changed to something tangible. We can see it and taste it and touch it and believe in it.”

The Tigers opened the 2018 season over the weekend on fire, bombing the Longwood Lancers with 34 runs while allowing only one run in three games. Casey Mize pitched six shutout innings and struck out seven while earning the win in the season opener. Granted Longwood is far from SEC caliber competition. Nevertheless it was a great start for the Tigers on their quest to get to Omaha.

Editor’s note:
Auburn (3-0) hosts Georgia State (2-1) and Troy (4-0) on Tuesday and Wednesday in4 p.m. games at Plainsman Park. The Georgia State game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

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Morning Musings: A Crushing Blow

By on February 19th, 2018 in Basketball, News 2 Comments »
anfernee-mclemore-021718-usnews-getty-ftr_1ogpo5jen1zc61e4w8tu9j2a9h A conference loss on the road… I can handle that. A season-ending injury to one of our own? Now that’s a different story.Just last week, Anfernee McLemore had one of the best performances in his career against Kentucky. Yesterday, he had surgery on his ankle after suffering a frightening injury on Saturday against South Caro... Read Full Story

Anfernee McLemore Out for the Season … Pearl says Tigers Will Find a Way

By on February 17th, 2018 in Basketball, News 6 Comments »
Feb 17, 2018; Columbia, SC, USA; Auburn Tigers forward Anfernee McLemore (24) is surrounded by coaches and EMS after falling and dislocating his ankle during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports Saturday was not a good night for the Auburn men’s basketball team. With guard Bryce Brown nursing a shoulder injury and hampered by a severe bruised foot, the team’s leading scorer was only able to muster 10 points in limited action against South Carolina. The result was an 84–75 Auburn loss on the road in Columbia. But c... Read Full Story

New Auburn AD Pens Open Letter to Auburn Family

By on February 17th, 2018 in News 1 Comment »
Screen-Shot-2018-01-19-at-2.29.58-PM-718x490 On Friday, many Auburn people found an open letter in their inbox from new Auburn Athletic Director Allen Greene. He addressed the letter to the Auburn Family, introducing himself and laying out his vision for Auburn athleticcs. For those who haven’t seen the new AD’s self introduction, we’ve published it here in its entir... Read Full Story

Tigers Take Down Kentucky

By on February 16th, 2018 in Basketball, News Comment »
d00_a620180214auky17068_jb Kentucky was in the middle of a three-game losing streak when it warmed up in Auburn Arena Wednesday. The last time the Wildcats played Auburn in The Jungle, the Tigers pulled off an astounding victory. But the last time Auburn beat Kentucky in back-to-back games at home?Bruce Pearl knew. And Pearl was ready to do what seemed im... Read Full Story

Tigers Trip the Wildcats!

By on February 15th, 2018 in Basketball 3 Comments »
Kentucky Beating Bryce Brown flies high to defend!(A. P. Photo/Brynn Anderson)     War Eagle, everybody! This morning, I just have to take my hat off to the Auburn Tigers men's basketball team. Even when the shots were not falling early, the Tigers battled and battled and stayed in the game with mighty Kentucky. The Wildcats were mired... Read Full Story

Big Blue Looms Large

By on February 14th, 2018 in Basketball 7 Comments »

Tonight's game was never expected to be a match-up of ranked opponents entering the season. But it seems the impossible has happened. Auburn is ranked and Kentucky is not. Auburn, for the first time ever in Auburn Arena, will be the favorite against Kentucky.

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Auburn Softball News and Notes: 2/13/18 Edition

By on February 13th, 2018 in Other Sports 4 Comments »

Auburn is going through a transition year, not just in terms of roster but leadership and philosophy. Auburn started out 6-0 and did it a different way than previous clubs might have done it.

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Monday Musings: Tough Stretch Ahead

By on February 12th, 2018 in Basketball, Football, News 4 Comments »

With just six games left, the Tigers can guarantee an SEC regular season title by winning five. Four guarantees a piece of the title.

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Signing Day Thoughts.

By on February 9th, 2018 in Football, News 2 Comments »
Sign 01 Who will help immediately on the field?(Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! National Signing Day has come and gone, with some interesting results at both Auburn and in the SEC in general. The early signing period back in December made for much less excitement and activity last Wednesday, but I expect that mo... Read Full Story

Tigers Came Up Short in First Home Loss

By on February 8th, 2018 in Basketball, News 3 Comments »

Auburn finally loses at home against a hot Texas A&M team poised to make a run.

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National Signing Day 2018—Part Deux—Summary

By on February 8th, 2018 in Football, News 4 Comments »
gus_nsd National Signing Day 2018—Part Deux is in the books.The composite class rankings have Auburn coming in at Number 12 in the NCAA and Number 3 behind Georgia and Alabama in the SEC. Minus signing one or two more offensive linemen, however, this is an overall good group of recruits. And it may have been the most ever four star r... Read Full Story

National Signing Day 2018—Live Thread

By on February 7th, 2018 in Football, News 1 Comment »

National Signing Day 2018 is here! There are still some unanswered questions that, by the end of the day, will be answered. One of which is who will put on the AU hat?

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National Signing Day 2018—Part Deux

By on February 6th, 2018 in Football, News 7 Comments »
National Signing Day 2018 Like it or not, there is now an early signing period for college football which, naturally, takes away from a lot of the suspense of the annual National Signing Day, but I still expect some drama to unfold.As we do every year, Track ‘Em Tigers will be here with our open thread tomorrow, so please drop by and take part.It seems... Read Full Story

Tigers Vanquish Vandy, Texas A&M Presents Next Challenge

By on February 6th, 2018 in Basketball, News 3 Comments »
Bryce Brown by Jullie Bennett/al,com

The Tigers continue to rise in the standings. They vanquished a losing streak to Vandy this Saturday. They haven't really had a letdown game, but Texas A&M could be it as the Aggies come to town next.

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Monday Musings: Finishing Strong

By on February 5th, 2018 in Basketball, Football 4 Comments »
6_5047522 It wasn't pretty defensively... but Auburn basketball got the job done on Saturday night against Vanderbilt. In the first half, the Tigers held a 36–14 lead. I decided to call my grandfather to talk to him about the game as well as Mizzou's win against Kentucky. While on the phone with him, I saw Auburn's lead slip as Vanderb... Read Full Story

Putting the “Special” Back in Those Teams

By on February 1st, 2018 in Football 6 Comments »
Special 01 Auburn must replace a legend (Photo by Acid Reign.)     War Eagle, everybody! This week, on the eve of a much-muted national signing day, we'll take a look at Auburn's special teams performance this past season and a glimpse ahead of what the future might hold. Additionally, I think a look at next fall's schedule is in... Read Full Story

Tigers Own Ole Miss in Oxford

By on January 31st, 2018 in Basketball, News 1 Comment »
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Auburn rolled through Oxford but was challenged in a 79-70 victory over the Rebels. Bryce Brown led the way for the Tigers, who look to take on Vanderbilt next.

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Asa Martin Brings Excitement to the Future of Auburn Backfield

By on January 31st, 2018 in Football, News 4 Comments »

The No. 1 running back in Alabama (No.7 nationally) is excited about playing for Auburn. With K.J. leaving for the NFL, Martin’s decision to be a Tiger makes a lot of Auburn fans excited about the future as well.

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Auburn Trounced LSU in The Jungle

By on January 30th, 2018 in Basketball, News 2 Comments »

This was a game for fans to sit back and enjoy as Auburn ran away with an easy win from tipoff against LSU. Up next is Ole Miss in Oxford.

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A Year of Offensive Face-Turns.

By on January 26th, 2018 in Football 4 Comments »
Offensive Review A lot of skill returns!(Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle everybody! A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at Auburn's defensive year and what Auburn might expect on that side of the ball going forward to 2018. I'm taking a look at the offense, this week.The 2017 Tigers finished averaging 33.9 points per game, up almos... Read Full Story