Auburn Baseball Will be Playing for Rod Bramblett in Atlanta Regional
photo: Michael Brannon/ Sylacauga News
Before Monday’s NCAA Selection Show, Auburn baseball’s postseason destination projections ranged from East Carolina to Oregon. Good news came today when the Tigers learned they will be playing close to home. Butch Thompson’s Tigers were announced as the No. 2 seed in the Atlanta Regional.
The selection marks the Tigers’ 22nd all-time NCAA appearance. For the first time in 16 years that Auburn will be playing in a third consecutive NCAA Tournament. After a heartbreaking early exit from the SEC Tourney last week, Auburn still has a chance to make it to Omaha.
Head coach Butch Thompson said it’s a chance at a new start. “Even our six great SEC teams this year that are hosting a regional, they’ve got to go play. It really doesn’t matter what you’ve done to now, if you get the opportunity, that’s the way we’ve got to look at it.”
With an RPI of 18 along with the toughest schedule in the nation, Auburn was assured a spot somewhere in the tournament. And where they landed is a good draw for the Tigers as they will be playing on a familiar field, two hours from Plainsman Park, in the city that has the largest out-of-state alumni contingent in the nation.
The field includes Sun Belt Tournament Champions, Coastal Carolina, as the No. 3 seed, No. 4 seed Florida A&M, and the host, No. 1 seed and ACC Coastal Division Champions Georgia Tech.
This will be the first time not to have popular play-by-play guy Rod Bramblett calling a regional game. Rod, who passed away Saturday, called Tiger games, along with Andy Burcham, for the past 25 years. He and Burcham described every pitch and every play. This time around Britt Bowen and Paul Ellen will be doing the radio broadcast from the Georgia Tech campus.
Bramblett was close to a lot of the players on the team. And like the rest of the Auburn family, his passing weighs heavily on the Tigers’ hearts. Pitcher Tanner Burns told 24/7 Sports today that the Tigers have extra motivation heading into the regional. “We’re playing for Auburn, and we’re playing for him and his family.”
The Tigers are set to face Coastal Carolina (35–24–1, 15–13) on ESPNU at 11:00 a.m. CT Friday.