Baseball drama ensued on Saturday, April 20th at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL as the #23 ranked Auburn Tigers defeated the #17 Ole Miss Rebels on a walk-off victory in extra innings.
Auburn and Ole Miss entered Saturday afternoon’s match-up as a rubber match with the series tied 1-1. Conor Davis, DH, would earn his only hit on the afternoon and it proved to be a timely one. His single to the left side would score SS Will Holland to seal the walk-off victory in the bottom of the 10th inning and secure a monster series win. This was a critical win for the Tigers as they not only beat an SEC opponent, but a ranked one. Coming into this series they had lost 6 of their last 8 games. They struggled against #9 Arkansas and #12 Texas A&M, losing both series 1-2. The #23 Tigers also lost games to #16 Georgia Tech and Jacksonville State.
Against the Rebels, Auburn was out-hit in every game, however, the home run ball served the Tigers well to get much-needed runs – and wins. Defensively, Auburn committed 4 errors in the series as did the Rebels. To continue winning, Auburn must commit to defense and back up their pitching. They must also move runners and get more guys in positions to score – with smart, aggressive base running and timely hitting. Auburn stranded 13 runners to Ole Miss’s 22. Another positive was the Tigers’s ability to avoid giving up “the big inning”, the most runs they gave up in an inning across three games was 3; damage control is key. This series proved that this team is gritty and can get big wins in dire situations.
The future of Auburn Baseball: the Tigers have big games coming up as they travel to Nashville to face the Commodores of Vanderbilt, a home series against that other team in the state (Bama), and then finishing SEC play with a home series against Georgia and a road battle against LSU. The Baseball Tigers will also face tough tests against non-conference opponents in UAB and North Alabama. These final series match-ups against SEC foes will prove critical as the SEC Tournament and College World Series (CWS) rapidly approach.