Auburn Avoids Last Place With Series Win
Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics
After losing three straight conference series, including a series sweep by Arkansas last week, Auburn baseball rebounded with a series win against Mississippi State this past weekend.
Friday night included the usual stellar performance we’ve come to expect from Casey Mize as he allowed just one run in his fourth career complete game. The Tigers won that one 2–1 with just enough run support to get the win.
Saturday was rough as starter Davis Daniel lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on seven hits after a devastating five-run inning for Mississippi State in the third. It was a two-out single to left that began the Bulldogs’ rally. In his last three appearances, Davis has struggled mightily on the mound. In 6 1/3 innings, the sophomore pitcher has allowed 11 earned runs on 15 hits.
Sunday proved to be a crucial conference game to decide the weekend series, as a loss would have put Auburn in last place next to Alabama in the division. Down 4–0 in the sixth, Auburn’s back was against the wall. A single and a walk led to a double from Brett Wright to bring home the Tigers’ first run. Then Brandon Venter, who is one for his last 26 conference at-bats, stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. A wild pitch scored the second run during the at-bat before Venter cranked a 3–2 pitch over the left field wall at Plainsman Park to give Auburn the lead and, eventually, the series win.
Even with a crucial series win, the Tigers have slumped since a red-hot start to the season. The downward trend of this team is troubling. On Fridays, the bats rely too heavily on the arm of Casey Mize. And, as we saw this past weekend, things can spiral out of control at the blink of an eye on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m afraid this team simply became too comfortable before the start of conference play. Yesterday may have been the wake up call this team needed. Facing a fourth straight conference series loss and playing bottom-feeder in the division, Auburn desperately rallied back to get the win. Sometimes a team needs a little urgency.
With Florida, Vanderbilt and LSU still left on the schedule, nothing is guaranteed in the SEC—only earned.