Last Friday the Auburn Tigers were the up and coming team in the SEC. For the first time since 2003 Auburn had won three straight series to start the SEC season. The Tigers were ranked No.23 in the nation and were tied for First Place in the SEC West.
Now on Monday morning they find themselves in a precarious third place position. The difference between Friday and Monday was a three game sweep by arch rival Alabama.
It was just one month ago that the Tigers defeated Alabama 8-3 in their fourth-consecutive ‘Capital City Classic.’ But when the chips were on the line this weekend, the Tigers folded. As much as it hurts this homer to write those words, there is no other way to put it.
The Tigers were unable to convert on scoring opportunities the entire series and gave Alabama too many opportunities which the Tide took advantage of.
On Sunday afternoon the Tigers committed two errors and left 10 runners on base to allow Bama to complete the weekend sweep (6-2). It was the first time Alabama has swept Auburn in 10 years.
I must admit that after Auburn had opened the SEC season with three consecutive series wins, I was beginning to feel a little giddy over their national ranking and early first place position in the West.
We wrote in an article here on Friday that Alabama was much better than their record showed and was a dangerous team; but that doesn’t lessen the sting of being swept by the Tide. Being swept by any SEC team hurts but being swept by Alabama has a particular sting.
However, Tiger fans should remember that this team was picked to finish last in the SEC West preseason poll and to find themselves in third place at this juncture is still above pre season expectations.
Yes the sun still came up this morning and I still expect the Tigers to confound those preseason prognosticators. Yet the road gets tougher from here on out.
Next weekend Auburn travels to Vanderbilt, then returns home to play defending national champion South Carolina while still having to face Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas.
This Auburn Baseball Team is capable of successfully negotiating that gauntlet in to the post season – but it will take a better performance than was witnessed in Tuscaloosa.