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Butch Thompson Architect of Auburn Baseball’s Meteoric Rise to Top of SEC

By on May 1st, 2017 in Baseball, News 8 Comments »

Second-year Auburn coach Butch Thompson has led the Tigers to first place in the SEC (photo: Auburn Media file)

Looking back at the preseason college baseball rankings, I’m reminded of Mark Twain’s famous quote: “The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.” Picked to finish last in the SEC West, Auburn baseball now sits atop of the Southeastern Conference. 

For the second straight weekend the Tigers beat a team at the top of the league standings. Arkansas and Mississippi State each came into its series with the Tigers sporting the best records in the SEC. But now Auburn sits at the top of the heap having swept the Bulldogs Saturday in a doubleheader, 17–8 and 5–3, in Starkville.

Butch Thompson  took over a program that was mired in controversy and obscurity and made it one of the nation’s best in less than two years. And he did it by crafting a team of veterans and talented newcomers. Twenty of the players on the roster are Thompson recruits. And, they are contributing every week.

The MSU series marked the second weekend that Auburn was without sophomore Casey Mize, the SEC’s best pitcher, but freshman Elliott Anderson came on in game two to earn the victory in his SEC debut while Juco transfer Calvin Coker pitched the final 2.1 innings to record the save in game two.

The Tigers were also without starting shortstop and JUCO transfer Luke Jarvis, but it didn’t matter as freshman Will Holland filled the role nicely, recording the last putout of the series. Redshirt freshman outfielder Jeremy Johnson, who here-to-fore had only three game appearances, came off the bench to start all three games in left field and went 3-for-3 at the plate in the final. JUCO transfer Dylan Ingram hit a grand slam in the first game and a two-run homer in the second.

One would think the young guys would be awestruck by playing in big games in front of big crowds. Yet, on Saturday the Tigers defeated the hottest team in the league in front of nearly 10,000 fans at Dudy Noble Field.

No. 5 Auburn (32–14, 14–7) has now won six of seven SEC series. The victory moved Auburn into a tie with No. 8 Miss. State for both the SEC West and overall league lead. But if the season ended today Auburn’s win over the Bulldogs would be the tie breaker. The doubleheader sweep was the first for Auburn in SEC play since taking two from Alabama in 2011.

The enthusiasm this team plays with is reminiscent of the 2010 Tigers that hosted an NCAA Regional. And they are on track to return to the tourney and possibly win a SEC championship. Standing in their way this Friday will be the team that would like nothing better than to derail the Auburn train.

The Tigers will play Bama in a weekend series. Friday’s game will be aired by SEC+ with the first pitch at 6:00 p.m. CT at Plainsman Park. Hope to see you there …

Beat Bama!


  1. audude audude says:

    It’s fun reading about the Baseball team and their improvement. Coach Thompson has been pulling all the right strings this year and has put the team in a very enviable position. The best part is they are not finished and still need to work on consistency. They believe, CT believes, I believe.


  2. SEC_Eric SEC_Eric says:

    Thompson's done a phenomenal job. Auburn baseball is fun again.

  3. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    What a series the Arky and MSU games were. As a long time Auburn baseball fan, I can’t express how excited I am about this team’s success. I knew Butch Thompson was a good recruiter and a good assistant coach but I had no idea he could get his team playing at this level so early. Looking forward to beating bama this weekend. WDE!

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……I missed an awesome weekend of Auburn stick-ball, all the way around, it seems. We are getting to the point where all games will be televised, in both sports. I can’t wait!

  5. […] and couldn’t bring the runners home. The lost series, and especially that game, took a toll on Butch Thompson’s […]

  6. […] Auburn won the series 2-1 marking the 11th series win of the year and ending the seven game losing streak. While the skid was disappointing, to be back in Hoover after missing the tourney last season is a major accomplishment for second year coach Butch Thompson. […]

  7. […] he’s ever thrown in my short time here, and I couldn’t be more proud for him,” said  coach Butch Thompson. “I wanted him on that mound so that will be a coaches’ decision and coaches’ mistake to be […]

  8. […] After such a disappointing loss, the team is hurting tonight, but the future is bright because Auburn baseball is in good hands with Butch Thompson. […]