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Baseball is Fun Again on The Plains!

By on April 3rd, 2017 in Baseball, News 9 Comments »
Conor Davis (24) and Bo Decker (35).
Auburn baseball vs South Carolina on Sunday, April 2, 2017 in Auburn, Ala. 
Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics

Bo Decker (35) pours ice over Conor Davis (24) after Davis' walkoff homerun beat No. 6 South Carolina on Sunday. (photo: Dakota Sumpter/AU Athletics)

Standing at the plate in the bottom of the ninth, trailing No. 6 South Carolina 5–3 with two outs and two on, Auburn pinch hitter Conor Davis smashed a 2–1 pitch over the green monster in left field to give No. 17 Auburn a victory over the Gamecocks.

The sellout crowd went crazy as the Auburn bench poured out of the dugout to celebrate Davis’ walkoff homer. It was the freshman’s first college home run, and it will be a memory that will last a life time.

“I didn’t think my first one would be like this,” said Davis. “I was going around first and saw Coach Bohannon just going nuts. Since he recruited me, it made me go even crazier going around the bases, then Sis going crazy and everyone waiting at the plate. It was unreal.” When Conor reached homeplate, he was mobbed and  doused with a cooler of ice.

“What a moment for Conor,” said Coach Butch Thompson, “That was a heavyweight fight, and that was definitely a world-champion heavyweight team. They threw a punch, and it looked like we were dead … but this team has been so resilient this year, and we threw the last punch.”

It’s simply amazing how Thompson has turned this program around from the train wreck that was Sunny Golloway. The victory sealed the Tigers’ seventh straight series win and keeps Auburn tied for the Southeastern Conference lead. And even more impressive, they did it without Tiger ace Keegan Thompson, who has been nursing a sore shoulder.

Davis’ bomb was quite possibly the biggest moment at Plainsman Park since Creed Simpson’s home run beat Clemson in game two of the 2010 NCAA Regional. Although not as important a win as a playoff victory, it was nonetheless very important. It may have served notice that this bunch, Butch Thompson’s second Auburn team, is a  bona fide contender. It’s the kind of win that packs ball parks, breeds confidence, and gives teams momentum, propelling them toward the postseason.

And at 23–7 and sitting at the top of the SEC, the Tigers are looking more and more like a NCAA Tourney team. And why not, they have good defense, timely hitting, and three of the best pitchers in the league in Thompson, Casey Mize, and Cole Lipscomb. They also have two things that can’t be coached: team chemistry and playing with a chip on their shoulder.

This bunch has been doubted since before the season began. Just two weeks ago, ESPN analyst Mike Burke said he thought Auburn’s sweep of Florida was a fluke. It’s that kind of disrespect that makes them want to prove they belong among the league’s best.

You can bet the Tigers now have the full attention of the remaining teams on their schedule. If they win eight of the 21 SEC games left, you can also bet they will be going to the big dance. Whether you take that bet or not, one thing’s for sure …

Baseball is fun again on the Plains!

Editor’s note:
Auburn will host Georgia Tech Tuesday at 6 pm CT. Fans can catch the game on SECN+.

9 Comments

  1. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    That was a huge hit and a huge step toward being a contender. YES, it truly is amazing what Butch Thompson has done in turning this program around in less than two years.

  2. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    I admit that I am a fair weather fan. Baseball is just hard to watch next to softball, football, and basketball.

    But yes, it is astounding what Thompson hs done.

    But one has to wonder. …could it have anything to do with Sonny and the “extra work” he put in?

    • AUNation AUNation says:

      I’m going to go ahead and say that this baseball fan attributes NONE of this progress to Sonny Galloway. None. AU has always kept manageable talent, but now they have confidence. Could be a fun ride.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      Normally that would be a fair question, but ….

      Not where Golloway is concerned. He absolutely deserves no credit for what Butch Thompson's staff has done. He came close to destroying the program and left Thompson with a poisoned "train wreck." Thompson had to change the culture and the atmosphere to get the older guys believing in themselves again. Besides that half of this team's starters are his his recruits.

    • Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

      Thanks, all. Like I said, fair weather fan here. I mean, i’ve been to a lot of games but only because it was before a softball or basketball game.

  3. audad says:

    Good write-up, Tigerman. My only question would be your reference to the “sellout crowd”. The highlights I watched appeared to show quite a few empty seats. Perhaps the tickets were sold, and the people just didn’t show up. If that’s the case, then let’s hope that wins like these and the continued exciting play by this group brings the people out so that in fact all of the seats will be filled.

    • AUNation AUNation says:

      They are saying it was the best attendance at an AU home game in 14 years. I wasn’t there for that one, but I was in Montgomery to see them take down the Tide last Tue. That was the largest crowd ever to watch a baseball game in Montgomery and it was pretty wild. Can only imagine what the atmosphere was like at a well attended AU home game when that shot went over the monster…

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Thanks AUDad.

      Samford Stadium has a seating capacity of 4,095. The university announced a total weekend attendance of 11,914. That means each of the 3 games in the series was at or near full capacity. But then again, I have been known to to use too much hyperbole and I probably was guilty of that in this case.

      But your suggestion of seats sold without being filled by warm bodies is probably the most logical reason for what you saw. I know I have been to a number of basketball games that had dozens of empty seats yet a sellout would be announced. Many people buy season tickets to support the programs and then can't make every game.

      The school said the weekend's attendance for the 3 South Carolina games was the largest series total at Plainsman Park's Samford Stadium since 2003 and the third-largest in stadium history.

      Here's to hoping the Tigers keep winning and the excitement & attendance keeps growing with each win.

      War Eagle!

  4. Zach Taylor Zach Taylor says:

    Same thing can be said about softball. Season tickets are sold out and that’s what they refer to, even though people who buy said tickets rarely make games, it could be said.

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