Auburn Baseball Is Proving to the SEC How Dangerous It Can Be
Andrew Mitchell gets critical win in rubber match with Arkansas. (AU media file)
The best surprise to come out of Auburn this spring has been a rejuvenated baseball program. And Auburn keeps on rolling along as the No. 10 Tigers defeated No. 11 Arkansas in a three-game home stand over the weekend in what was possibly the biggest series at Plainsman Park in the past seven years.
Sunday’s game marked the second time this season that Auburn has won a series without one of its starting pitchers. The Tigers had to play Arkansas without starter Casey Mize, who was held out due to a sore shoulder. Just a week ago, Auburn beat South Carolina without the team’s other ace, Keegan Thompson, who was also nursing a much used throwing arm.
But that’s what makes this team so special. The difference in a good team and a contender of any sport is solid depth. That’s certainly been the case with Auburn this season. Every time the Tigers face a test, someone steps up.
In Sunday’s game that player was senior Andrew Mitchell who came on to pitch the final five innings, giving up a run on three hits as the Tigers beat the Razorbacks 11–6. Offensively, 10 of the Tigers’ season-high 16 hits were for extra bases, including eight doubles and two home runs. Josh Anthony led the charge. He was 9-for-12 for the series with seven RBIs.
Mitchell said, “It [the series win] shows we are a pretty good team. We take two of three both weekends without one of our best pitchers. It just shows when we have all three [starting pitchers] how dangerous we can be.”
This team continues to prove it is a good team and can be dangerous. But will the Tigers make it to the NCAA Tourney in Butch Thompson‘s second year at the helm? All indicators say they will.
The Tigers (30–12) probably need to win six more SEC games to host a regional. And if they can win eight or more, they will most likely be selected to host a Super Regional.
Auburn has now won five of six SEC series and is tied for second in the West with Arkansas (32–10). They are a game behind Mississippi State. If Auburn can win this weekend against the Bulldogs, they will most likely take over sole possession of first place.
Before traveling to Starkville, the Tigers play Troy at home Tuesday.
Fans can catch the game on SECN+, first pitch is at 6:00 CT.