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Riley Hubbard

Riley’s Ramblings: Pitching Key in Auburn’s First SEC Road Series of the Season

By | Talent Columns | No Comments

 

Another successful series went into the books for Auburn Baseball over the weekend against Texas A&M, as the Tigers took two out of three in their SEC series opener. The series win propelled Auburn to a number six ranking in the latest Baseball America Top 25 Poll on Tuesday after being in the thirteenth spot last week and is ranked ninth in D1Baseball’s poll from Tuesday.

 

Despite a tough 6-4 loss at Georgia Tech on Tuesday night, the Tigers still hold an impressive 19-3 record (2-1 in conference) going into their first road conference series of the season at Kentucky. Kentucky is currently 15-6 on the season and just got swept by Arkansas in the first series in conference play. Despite getting swept, Baseball America has the talented Wildcats ranked eighth and D1Baseball has them ranked sixth in the country.

 

This weekend’s series will be a true road test for the Tigers in early conference play. No series is an easy one in the SEC, which is undoubtably the toughest conference in college baseball, especially on the road. Kentucky has been led offensively so far this season by their red hot infielder, Luke Heyer. Heyer is batting .365 with 27 RBI and leads the team with ten home runs. The Wildcats are defiantly a team led by their offense, as they have outscored their opponents 190 to 114 so far this season. The heart of Kentucky’s lineup led by Heyer, T.J. Collitt, and Tristian Pompey can be extremely lethal when they get hot. Kentucky has already hung up double digits in ten of the first sixteen games played this season.

 

That means that Auburn’s pitching staff and deep bullpen will be key to win the series. Casey Mize will put his perfect 5-0 record on the line on Friday afternoon. It did not seem possible for Mize to pitch better this season than last season, but so far he has looked virtually unhittable for the Tigers with a 1.96 ERA and 51 strikeouts. If Mize can turn in a good start in Lexington on Friday, it will give Auburn a huge push to win the series on the road.

 

Davis Daniel and Tanner Burns are both looking for bounce back starts after disappointing starts in the Texas A&M series. Neither of them pitched poorly enough to not give their team a chance to win, but a deep quality start from Daniel and Burns would give the Tigers a great chance to come home with a second conference win on the season.

 

Riley Hubbard

ESPN 106.7

rhubbard@aunetwork.com

Riley’s Ramblings: Auburn Basketball Needs To Learn From Mistakes and Auburn Baseball’s Series Against Texas A&M Shows They Are a Contender

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A win is a win, and although it wasn’t pretty in round one, the four-seed Auburn Tigers are getting ready for a Sunday night match up against Clemson in the round of sixty-four. Auburn needs to focus on fixing their mistakes from their game on Friday afternoon which included a lot of bad shooting from the Tigers. Auburn shot just 35.6% from the field and a feeble 20.8% from behind the three point line. Most people can agree that Auburn is lucky that their ability to get turnovers (21) and a bit of poor shooting from Charleston kept them from getting upset in San Diego.

 

Just because they struggled on Friday does not mean that they are likely to lose to the number five seed Clemson on Sunday night. Auburn needs to quickly learn from their mistakes because another shooting performance like Friday night would likely end the tournament run. Clemson took down twelve-seed New Mexico State on Friday by a 79-68 final to punch their ticket to the round of thirty-two. Auburn will be tasked with slowing down the hot shooting Tigers which shot an incredible 55.9% from the field (42.9% from the three-point line).

 

Currently, Clemson is a 1.5 point underdog, but Auburn will need to get hot shooting the ball because when they get momentum on offense (which was rare on Friday) they are hard to beat. (6:10 tip on TBS)

 

With March Madness going on, SEC conference opening weekend was almost forgotten. After another excellent start from Casey Mize (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) on Friday and a blowout eighth inning highlighted by a Steven Williams grand slam on Saturday, Auburn has already won the series against Texas A&M. Texas A&M is not a slouch either- The Aggies are ranked ninth in the country by D1 Baseball and tenth by Baseball America. Auburn will send Tanner Burns to the mound on Sunday to try and finish off the series sweep, which would be huge for Auburn going forward (1:00 first pitch on SEC Network+).

 

Auburn’s record is now pushed up to an impressive 19-1 (2-0 in SEC) with five series win including Texas A&M. The SEC is undoubtedly the toughest conference in the country with eight of the fourteen teems in the Baseball America Top 25. Behind one of the best aces in the county in Casey Mize and a solid offense, the Tigers look like they can be one of the best teams in the conference. Casey Mize has made every series opener for Auburn feel like a guaranteed win and deserves a lot of credit. Mize is currently 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 51 strikeouts in five starts. He is shown incredible swing and miss stuff and threw the first no-hitter from an Auburn pitcher since 2003. This team is a lot of fun to watch and based on the first two games of the Texas A&M series, is going to be a tough out for other teams around the league.

 

Riley’s Ramblings: Undefeated Auburn Baseball Recieving National Attention and Saturday is a Must Win For Auburn Basketball

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For the sixth time in program history, Auburn University is undefeated through their first nine games of the season. Auburn baseball has been on a roll recently, highlighted by their two series sweeps of Longwood State and Bryant University at home. On Monday, Baseball America released their latest college baseball top 25 rankings that featured the Tigers in the number 25 spot. Their 8-7 victory over South Alabama in Mobile on Tuesday night must be a momentum booster as well, because the Jaguars are ranked 21st in the nation by Baseball America and 20th in the nation by D1Baseball and should lead to Auburn going up in the rankings.

 

The biggest bright spot during the young season has been their weekend rotation. Through two starts and 12.0 innings, Auburn Freshman Tanner Burns has only given up one earned run and earned the win in his first start against Longwood State. Casey Mize got the win in both of his starts and has racked up 16 strikeouts in his 11.0 innings of work. Andrew Mitchell and Calvin Coker have also been very solid for the Tigers out of the bullpen.

 

Auburn will put their perfect record on the line this weekend against BYU at home. Game one will start at 5:00 and games two and three will be a double header on Saturday (12:00 and 3:30). Auburn is going in a positive direction in nonconference play and will need to use these games to keep gaining momentum and team chemistry until conference play starts on March 16th against Texas A&M.


 

The double digit win against rival Alabama at home looked like it was going to be a huge momentum booster for Auburn Basketball, but the last couple of games have not gone to plan for the Tigers as they lost to Florida and Arkansas on the road. After dropping the last two games, the SEC regular season title that seemed to be in the bag for Auburn is now in question with one regular season game left. Auburn and Tennessee are tied at the top of the conference standings and Auburn either needs to win against South Carolina on Saturday or have Tennessee lose against Georgia (Auburn receives the tiebreaker for winning the head-to-head matchup).

 

Auburn looks like they have fallen victim to playing teams late in the season that are on the bubble in Florida and Arkansas and probably want the win more than the Tigers do. However, Auburn has a great chance to rebound against South Carolina at home on Saturday afternoon. Auburn has been almost unbeatable in front of the home crowd, and getting the win would be huge as it would give them the number one seed in the SEC Tournament in St. Louis.

 

Despite the two tough road losses and the injury to Anfrenee Maclamore, Auburn is still a great team with a lot of heart. Fans need to keep in mind that they are still ranked 14th in the nation and are projected to be a three seed in the NCAA Tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. I can easily see Auburn as a sweet sixteen team if they shoot the ball well going into the NCAA Tournament.

 

Auburn High Baseball Battles Park Crossing At Home On Tuesday Night

By | Auburn High News | No Comments

 

On Friday night, Auburn High Baseball was unable to win their first game at their new ballpark, as they lost to Florance on a controversial strike three call on Ted Benda with the bases loaded that caused Griffin Speaks to be ruled out at home plate to end the game 2-1. However, the Tigers bounced back by beating Rehobeth 2-0 and Enterprise 11-4 on Saturday at a round-robin event in Enterprise. Auburn pitchers Wes Starr and Drew Jennings combined to throw a four hit shutout against Rehobeth then Garrett Morris went two for four with two RBI and Carson Plan went two for four with three RBI to lead the Tigers offensive attack against Enterprise.

 

Auburn hopes to continue their winning ways and get their first win at their new ballpark by beating Park Crossing on the Auburn High Campus tonight. Head Coach Matt Cimo will send right handed Senior Richard Preus (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the hill tonight at 7:00 to try to get Auburn their first home win of the young season. Scott Bagwell and Riley Hubbard will have the coverage on ESPN 106.7 beginning at 7:00. The game will also be streaming online at espnau.com and on the ESPN 106.7 app.

 

Auburn High Boys And Girls Play For a Trip To The AHSAA Finals in Birmingham

By | Auburn High News | No Comments

The Auburn High Boys and Girls basketball teams are just a win away in regional championshp in Montgomery. The Auburn High girls will battle Robert E. Lee High School at 3:00, then the boys will take on area foe Central at 4:45. Scott Bagwell and Noah Gardner will have live coverage from Dunn–Oliver Acadome in Montgomery for both games on ESPN 106.7 beginning at 3:00. Both games will also be streaming online at espnau.com and on the ESPN 106.7 app.

Riley’s Ramblings: Opening Day On The Plains For Auburn Baseball

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After over seven months of waiting, college baseball is finally back! First pitch on Opening Day at Plainsman Park is set for 5:00 against Longwood and Auburn has a lot of positives to take from last year when they were one win away from going to a super regional for the first time since 1999. This team is clearly on an upward trend under Head Coach Butch Thompson, who is entering his third season as the Tigers skipper.

 

Junior Casey Mize (RHP) finished fifth in the SEC in ERA last season

One bright spot from last year was the current Tigers ace, Junior Casey Mize. After a less than stellar freshman season, Mize burst on to the scene posting an 8-2 record with a 2.04 ERA in 13 games (12 starts) for the Tigers in 2017. After the season Mize was awarded second team All-American Honors by Rawlings and his 109 strikeouts was good enough for third in the SEC and the most from an Auburn pitcher since Brent Schoening and Chris Bootcheck in 1999. The Tigers right hander has a strong fastball that tops out at 96 mph, a nice upper-80’s splitter, and occasionally breaks out a low 80’s curveball.

 

Mize will be asked to lead a staff that will also consist of sophomore Davis Daniel and true freshman Tanner Burns. Davis Daniel finished his freshman season in 2017 with a 4-3 record and a tough 5.89 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). Daniel shows a lot of potential with a mid to high 90’s fastball, but needs to continue to develop the rest of his arsenal to pitch off his fastball. With his freshman season under his belt, 2018 could potentially be Daniel’s breakout year. After Daniel in the rotation is true freshman Tanner Burns from Decatur High School in Decatur, Alabama. In high school, Burns showcased a fastball that tops at around 96 mph with very impressive breaking stuff including a slider, a very hard curveball, and occasionally a changeup. The transition from high school to college baseball is never an easy one, but Burns has the ability to be a productive starter this season that will only continue to develop.

 

Senior Jay Estes (INF) finished last season as the team leader in doubles with 19

The batting order for Auburn will be looking a little different this season after losing seven position players to either graduation or the 2017 MLB Draft, but there are still some players that can build on a strong 2017 at the plate. Senior infielder Jay Estes will be looking to build on a strong season last year where he finished with a .276 batting average, 29 RBI, and a team best 19 doubles. Estes will likely move toward the three or four spot in the lineup this season where Auburn hopes to see more clutch hitting and increased productivity from him. Senior third baseman Josh Anthony had a great year in the field and batted a respectable .266 at the plate with 39 RBI. Anthony is a very athletic player with a tremendous arm at third. Hopefully Anthony’s power stroke will come around this season and he can become a more consistent hitter.

 

A big hurdle that Auburn will need to overcome this season is the loss of many of their core players from last season including the team’s ace Keegan Thompson (7-4, 2.41 ERA), RBI leader Daniel Robert (42), batting average leader Jonah Todd (.376), and closer Cole Lipscomb. Head Coach Butch Thompson has shown how good he is at developing young talent and that his team can be extremely competitive in the SEC. Friday’s game will be the beginning of a new chapter for Auburn Baseball, and the future is very bright for Coach Thompson’s Tigers in 2018.

 

Riley Hubbard

ESPN 106.7

rhubbard@aunetwork.com

 

Auburn High Basketball Travels to Montgomery For Regionals

By | Auburn High News | No Comments

Both the Auburn High Boys and Girls basketball teams are traveling to Montgomery on Wednesday afternoon to begin the regional tournament. The girls won the area last week and the boys placed second in the area tournament last week in Phenix City, so both move on to the regional championship that starts on Wednesday. First, the girls will battle Enterprise at 1:00, then the boys will take on Lee immediately following.

 

Scott Bagwell and Noah Gardner will have coverage of both games on ESPN 106.7, espnau.com, and on the ESPN 106.7 app.

AUDIO: Auburn High and Opelika High’s NSD Ceremonies

By | Auburn High News, ESPN 106.7 News | No Comments

 

Opelika High School:

 

Deandre Butler- Jacksonville State (Football)

 

Justin Lewis- University of Massachusetts (Football)

 

Jamias Presley- Jacksonville State University (Football)

 

Callahan Saggus- West Alabama (Football)

 

Auburn High School:

 

Avery Atkins-LSU (Football)

 

Michael Moore- Jacksonville State (Football)

 

Jakob Cummings- University of North Alabama (Football)

 

Trey Elston- West Alabama (Football)

 

JaMarcus Knight- West Alabama (Football)

 

Cordell Plott- West Alabama (Football)

 

Garrett Morris- University of Pennsylvania (Football)

 

Seth Selby- Jacksonville University (Football)

 

Armondo Thomas- ASA College (Football)

 

JT Williams- Millsaps College (Football)

 

Khadeesha Crumbly- North Carolina Asheville (Women’s Track and Field)

 

Andrew Mingus- AUM (Cross Country)

 

Anna Claire Little- Troy University (Women’s Golf)

 

Connor Newton- Coastal Carolina (Golf)

 

Teddy Benda- Chattahoochee Valley CC (Baseball)

 

Brooks Fuller- Auburn University (Baseball)

 

Wes Starr- Coastal Carolina (Baseball)

 

Anna Kate McGinty- SCAD (Women’s Swimming)

 

Charlie Friedenrich- Cumberland College or Navy (awaiting appointment to the Naval Academy) (Wrestling)

 

To see today’s photo gallery of NSD at Auburn High School and Opelika High School, click here

Riley’s Ramblings: Auburn Basketball’s Toughest Games Are Still In Front Of Them

By | Talent Columns | No Comments

 

Auburn earned another win on Tuesday night at Ole Miss behind Bryce Brown’s 23 points to improve their record to 20-2 (8-1 in SEC), but there’s no denying that the toughest of Auburn’s schedule is still in front of them. Auburn has proved to the college basketball world that they are the best team in the SEC and is almost certain to earn a NCAA Tournament bid, but the Tigers will definitely be tested before the SEC Tournament in St. Louis. Even though Vanderbilt has the worst record in the SEC at 8-14 (2-7 in SEC), they are far from being a pushover. In fact, they were just a few free throws away from taking down Kentucky on Tuesday night. The Commadors are also a team full of sharp shooters led by Riley LaChance. LaChance is liable to make a shot from almost anywhere and can be tough to stop once he finds his rhythm. So far this season, LaChance is shooting 47% from the field and 42% from behind the three point line.

(Video Credit: ESPN)

 

After the Commadors on Saturday night, Auburn will go on to play Texas A&M (14-8, 3-6 in SEC), Georgia (13-8, 4-5 in SEC), Kentucky (17-5, 6-3 in SEC), South Carolina (13-9, 4-5 in SEC), Alabama (14-8, 5-4 in SEC), Florida (15-7, 6-3 in SEC), and Arkansas (15-7, 4-5 in SEC). Luckily for the Tigers, the Vandy, Texas A&M, Kentucky, and Alabama games are all being played at Auburn Area. The atmosphere that Auburn plays in at Auburn Area can make it feel like nobody can travel to the plains and win. Auburn is 11-0 at home this year and to have Kentucky at home this season is huge for the Tigers.

 

In the latest edition of ESPN’s Bracketology with Joe Lunardi, Auburn was projected to be a two seed, so if the Tigers can go at least .500 from this point, they will be in prime position for the NCAA regardless of their performance in the SEC Tournament (where Auburn will have a good chance to go deep). For now all eyes are on this Saturday’s battle with Vanderbilt- A game that is no guaranteed win. A win on Saturday at Auburn Area could possibly make the currently 11th ranked Auburn Tigers a top ten team, which nobody could have predicted before the season began.

 

Auburn High Defeats Rival Opelika To Wrap Up Regular Season

By | Auburn High News | No Comments

 

Auburn High wrapped up their regular season on Thursday night with a dominating 72-57 win over rival Opelika. Next, Auburn High will travel to Phenix City to take on Smiths Station in the first round of their area tournament on Thursday night. Scott Bagwell and Noah Gardner will have the coverage on ESPN 106.7 beginning at 7:00. That game will also be streaming online at espnau.com and on the ESPN 106.7 app.

 

After the game, Scott Bagwell was able to catch up with Senior Connor Fields, Junior Justin Brooks, and Assistant Coach Marcus Jackson:

 

Connor Fields:

 

Justin Brooks:

 

Assistant Coach Marcus Jackson: