Baseball is Fun Again on The Plains!
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!
Auburn will host Georgia Tech Tuesday at 6 pm CT. Fans can catch the game on SECN+.