AUBURN WINS! … Tigers Punch Ticket to College World Series!
Auburn players dog pile in celebration of winning the 2019 Chapel Hill Super Regional (photo: AP/Ben McKeown via USA TODAY)
For the first time since Tim Hudson wore an Auburn uniform, the Auburn Tigers are making travel arrangements for Omaha, Nebraska. The Tigers beat 14th ranked North Carolina 14–7 to punch their ticket to the College World Series.
And they did it dominating fashion, jumping on the Tar Heels in a 13-run first inning. The Tigers tallied 18 total hits on the day led by Judd Ward who had 3 hits, 3 RBI’s, a base on balls, and 2 runs scored.
It was a historic performance. North Carolina had never lost a Super Regional in six previous hosting opportunities. In addition, the 13 runs were the second most runs scored in a single inning in NCAA Tournament history.
Tar Heel fans must have thought the inning would never end as they saw 17 Tiger batters produce nine hits off of four different pitchers, taking the Heels nearly 50 minutes to get the third out.
North Carolina is one of the best hitting teams in the tournament and tried to come back with a couple of home runs but the Tigers essentially put the game away in the first. Tanner Burns got the start and produced 2 scoreless innings before freshman Richard Fitts took the win with 5.1 innings pitched. Cody Greenhill came in and got the last out in a 1.2-inning relief performance.
Coach Butch Thompson acknowledged in the post game that he knew some doubted this bunch after a mid season slump (that was precipitated by key injuries), a fact which had to make the Super Regional Championship that much sweeter.
“To see our players celebrate is special to me,” Thompson said. “To see the perseverance, and to see these young men rally around one another, I am proud to be their coach.”
And the Auburn Family is proud to be their fans. What a testament of the Auburn spirit of “Never to Yield” in sweeping the Atlanta Regional and now winning the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series for the first time since 1997.