Sweep of No. 5 Florida Proves Tigers Can Play With the Best
Blake Logan help lead the Tigers over Florida Sunday. (photo: Dakota Sumpter/AU athletics)
“Nobody can take that moment from me … Those are those little moments I take that I don’t need a penny for.” That’s the way Auburn baseball coach Butch Thompson felt after watching his team charge the field following opening SEC play with a sweep of No. 5 Florida.
The Auburn skipper had reason to be excited. It was a big moment for a team that went 8–22 in SEC play last season and hadn’t won a series win over a top-5 ranked opponent in seven years. The Tigers completed the sweep with a walkoff 6–5 victory over the Gators Sunday at Plainsman Park.
A preseason favorite to win the conference, Florida was swept by Auburn (17–5) for the first time in three decades. After dominating Florida 14–3 on Friday and dispatching the Gators 2–1 in Saturday’s contest, Auburn got four unearned runs off three Florida errors. It was one of those errors by Gator pitcher Frank Rubio, when he overthrew third base after fielding a Jonah Todd bunt, that allowed pinch runner J.J. Shaffer to score the game winning run.
Auburn upped its winning streak to seven and just may crack the Top 25 this week as a result. Pitching was the key to the series as Casey Mize dominated for seven innings with one unearned run while Cole Lipscomb got his third save, Mize had eight strikeouts, Keegan Thompson got eight K’s in getting his fourth win, and on Sunday Calvin Coker pitched a career-long four innings in relief while Andrew Mitchell picked up his fourth win.
The MVP of the series has to be catcher Blake Logan, who was released from the hospital just a month before the season began. Doctors doubted that he would be able to play this year, but the senior proved them wrong. He not only should be given credit for calling the pitches, but the senior had his first three-hit day and is batting .346 on the year. It was his single that put Shaffer in position to score the winning run.
These Tigers are fun to watch, and if they keep playing with confidence they have a chance to return to the postseason for the first time since 2010. “We’ve still got some lessons to learn,” said Thompson. “But I think we got seven [nation-leading] shutouts that tell us we can do this, and now we got something on our résumé that says, man, we can play.”
Watch Tigers charge the field after sweeping the Gators.
Auburn goes on the road Tuesday to play long-time rival Georgia Tech. First pitch will be at 5:00 p.m. CT on WatchESPN .
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