Is Auburn’s Dramatic Win Over No.18 Ole Miss Enough to Turn Things Around for Pawlowski?
Before Saturday’s 8-5 win over No.18 Ole Miss, the Auburn Baseball Team had not scored more than three runs in a game since April 16. And before yesterday Auburn had not won a Sunday game in the SEC.
For most of this spring, watching Auburn Baseball has been less than a thing of beauty. In fact for much of the last three years Auburn Baseball hasn’t been much fun to watch.
Not since the Tigers led the nation in hitting in 2010, won the SEC West, and hosted an NCAA Regional has there been much to cheer about. Auburn has not been to an NCAA since they won the Division.
This season has been particularly long and frustrating both for the team and the fans. Cries for John Pawlowski‘s job have become louder and more frequent.
But this weekend was different. The Tigers, feeling the pressure after giving up a series win to 13th place Missouri last weekend; came out Saturday like a different ball team, pounding out 12 hits to beat Ole Miss 8-5. It was the most hits since the Tigers belted 14 against Samford on April 16th.
Then on Sunday, the Tigers gave the most exciting performance since Creede Simpson’s three run homer with two strikes, two outs in the ninth inning against Clemson in the 2010 Regional.
If you like drama, the Tigers obliged.
Auburn hitters not only came through but did so when the chips were down, getting 7 hits and scoring all the Tigers’ runs with two outs.
Ole Miss was leading 2-0 in the second when Blake Austin drove in Auburn’s first run. The Tigers took a 4-2 lead in the seventh on clutch RBI hits by Cullen Wacker and Patrick Savage.
Those hits came after John Pawlowski was ejected from the game. Trailing the Rebs 2-1 Pawlowski came out of the dugout to dispute a strike call. He was thrown out – a move that fired up both his team and the fans.
Then after Mississippi came back and tied the game at 4-all, Damek Tomscha hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the eighth to put the Tigers up 5-4.
Except for the starting pitching the Tigers were almost perfect, winning in dramatic fashion as a team. From Hunter Kelley stealing not one but two home runs at the fence and robbing the Rebels of 4 potential runs – to Blake Austin’s picking off a runner at 2nd with the bases loaded – to Tomscha’s mammoth two-out homerun over the green monster in left – to closer Terrance Dedrick fantastic diving over the shoulder catch to end the game …
These Tigers did it all. They were finally fun to watch. They finally played an SEC game the way we thought they could.
With six SEC games left, will this be enough to get the Tigers into the SEC tournament? Maybe. Will it be enough to secure an SEC Regional bid ? Not hardly. Will it be enough to stop the talk about Pawlowski’s job security? No, not that either.
But if the Tigers keep playing with the focus, the fire, and the intensity they showed Saturday and Sunday, those questions will be mute because Auburn ‘will be’ selected for play in the NCAA post season.
Go Tigers Beat Jax State!