Tuesday Ramblings From The Plains
RIP to a great Auburn Man and Olympic coach, Mel Rosen. (photo: Auburn Athletics)
Auburn athletics lost a legend over the weekend when Hall of Famer Mel Rosen passed away. The nationally respected coach was Mr. Track and Field to several generations of athletes.
To say he was a legend doesn’t adequately describe what he meant to the sport. His 1992 Olympic team won 20 medals and broke or set five Olympic records. As Auburn’s head coach, he coached seven Olympians, 143 All-Americans, 63 SEC indoor and outdoor champions and eight NCAA champions, including the great Harvey Glance.
He led the Tigers to five SEC Championships and 11 Top 10 NCAA finishes. A four-time National Coach of the Year, Coach Rosen had the Tigers’ Track & Field complex renamed after him in 2006. RIP to a great Auburn Man.
News from spring practice is that Auburn’s receiving corps took another hit Saturday. Senior Will Hastings went down with a knee injury just days after Eli Stove was sidelined with a potential season ending ACL tear. The extent of Hastings’ injury has not been released, but you have to hate it for him and Stowe. Both men were poised to lead the Tiger attack in 2018. The good news is the stable is full of talent, including Iron Bowl hero Ryan Davis and sophomore phenomenon Nate Craig-Myers, who may now have to take on a bigger role.
The Auburn gymnastics team will be the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Regional to be held April 7 in the Huntsman Center at Salt Lake City, Utah. The rest of the schools in the meet include No. 1 seed and host Utah, No. 9 California as the No. 2 seed plus BYU, Stanford, and Southern Utah. The top two teams from each of the six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, April 20-21, in St. Louis at Chaifetz Arena. Coach Jeff Graba said, “The season always comes down to one meet, and we just have to go out there and hit [to advance].”
What a difference a week or two can make in softball and baseball. When Auburn softball was swept by LSU to open the SEC season, the Tigers looked like they were headed for a downturn. However, the ladies regained their swagger by winning five of six from Alabama and Kentucky and now sport a 31–6 record.
The opposite is the case for the slumping baseball team. A week ago the Tigers were riding high with a No. 6 national ranking after winning a series against Texas A&M. Then they posted a 1–4 mark against Georgia Tech and Kentucky. The last game in the Blue Grass series saw the Wildcats give the Tigers an embarrassing 13–3 loss. But what’s true of both teams is there is still a lot of ball games left to play, and anything can happen.
However, the hardballers may have a more treacherous schedule to maneuver with road series coming up against No. 4 Arkansas, No. 2 Florida, No. 5 Ole Miss. and home games against No. 7 Vanderbilt and No. 20 LSU.
While both stickball teams have had hitting slumps this year, the good news is both may have the best pitchers in college with Kaylee Carlson hurling for the ladies and All-American Casey Mize leading the men. And if the old saying is true that pitching and defense win championships, then expect both Auburn baseball and softball to be in the postseason.
The No. 11 softball team will be on the road this weekend in Oxford, Miss. while the No. 9 baseball team will play Alabama in the 10th annual Capital City Classic tonight at the Montgomery Biscuit’s Riverwalk Stadium. Although Auburn has won the last three matchups and taken eight of the nine games, it’s always an exciting affair, no matter which team wins. If you can make the game, you owe it to yourself to attend. First pitch between the Tigers and the Tide will be at 6:35 p.m. Central.
Hope to see ya there!