Auburn, NCAA Regional Champs!
NCAA Region Champion Auburn Tigers (Auburn media file)
Last week after hearing Auburn would be playing in the Raleigh Regional, Coach Butch Thompson said , “We want to finish a tournament and be the last one left standing.” The Tigers gave their coach his wish in a big way on Sunday by defeating host North Carolina State 15–7.
Auburn (42–21) swept through the Regional undefeated and will now most likely face Florida in a Gainesville Super Regional next weekend. It will be the Tigers’ first trip to a super regional in 19 years.
“For three days we played just great baseball,” said an elated Thompson. “To see these guys sit here and celebrate, they worked hard for this,” Thompson said. “They are proud to have that Auburn uniform on…The journey gets to continue. Not only did we knock the wall down, we claimed the championship for our baseball program.”
The pitching was superb through out the weekend, highlighted by Casey Mize’s striking out 11 against Army in game two. But it was the offense that brought the Tigers their first regional win since 1999. Auburn bats totaled 50 hits in three games. Senior Josh Anthony was the tourney MVP, going 9–13 with a homer, four doubles and seven RBI’s.
“I am full of emotions right now. It is my senior year, and I’m playing with nothing to lose,” said Anthony. “We are all trying to win. We are all trying to get to Omaha.”
No doubt No. 1 Florida will be a tough hurdle to overcome should it beat Florida Atlantic Monday, but the way this team is playing, the dream is looking like a possibility.