Here are some highlights from today’s press conference from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey focused on the ongoing fight against sports betting in the SEC, football officiating changes, and his thoughts on college baseball/softball’s need for a third paid coach and more scholarships for those players.
Former Auburn baseball players Garrett Cooper and Trey Wingenter are currently Major League professionals, but they will be proud alumni this weekend watching their former college squad compete for a College World Series title in Omaha.
Cooper played for the Tigers from 2012-2013 where he posted a .339 career batting average with 68 RBI and 12 homers in two seasons. He was then drafted in the sixth round (182nd overall pick) by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2013 MLB Draft. After a few years in the Brewers organization, he was traded to the New York Yankees where he made his MLB debut in 2017. Following the 2017 season, he was traded to the Miami Marlins where Cooper is hitting .296 with six home runs and 28 RBI so far this season.
“I’m just doing everything I can to help the team win,” said the 28 year old first baseman. “I had a little rough stretch to start the year, but recently our offense has started to click and we had a good run where we won four or five series in a row. Just to be playing well and healthy again is all I can really ask for.”
Cooper approves of the direction that Auburn coach Butch Thompson has the team heading and is excited about this week’s College World Series in Omaha.
“I still see a bunch a lot of my friends from Auburn and we are big advocates of Butch [Thompson] being there,” Cooper said. “We loved when they signed him and it just shows how great of a coach he is. He also has a great staff with Gabe Gross, who was at Auburn when I was there. The last couple of years they’ve shown that they’re going to continue to be a powerhouse in the SEC for years to come.”
Trey Wingenter played for the Auburn Tigers from 2013-2015 where he posted a 3.33 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 24.1 innings of work his sophomore year and then followed that up by recording a 4.28 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 54.2 innings of work in his junior year. After the 2015 season, Wingenter was drafted in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. Three years later, in 2018, he made his debut with the Padres and currently has a 3.86 ERA in 24 appearances on the mound.
Wingenter, like Cooper, is excited about his former college team making an appearance in this year’s College World Series.
“I’m very proud to have been a part of that program years ago,” said the Huntsville, AL native. “It’s been awesome to see what Coach Thompson’s done in getting this program back to Omaha. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch a few games during this postseason run they’ve been on and it’s been awesome to watch. I’m really proud to be a part of this program.”
Wingenter has fond memories of his time as an Auburn Tiger.
“The main things I took from Auburn Baseball are my memories with my teammates,” Wingenter said. “They became some of my really good friends throughout my time there and I still keep up with them. That’s the biggest thing that I took from college baseball and I think a lot of people do… some lifelong friends that you grind it out with and they become your brothers.”
You can listen to complete interviews with both Cooper and Wingenter below:
Hear Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn give his thoughts after the Tigers 2019 spring game.
Photo Credit: Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Stay tuned to ESPN 106.7 for The Coach Pat Dye Show after The Drive with Bill Cameron Thursday and again Saturday at 7 a.m.
Color commentator and former Auburn quarterback Stan White joins the show.
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Hear Gus Malzahn rundown Auburn’s plans for spring practice and discuss looming uncertainties the Tigers must address on this special edition of the Auburn Podcast.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn spring practice presser on Monday, March 18, 2019 Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics
Hear Gus Malzahn discuss his plan as Auburn head coach before the bowl game, moving toward the 2019 season
Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele meets with media members after the Tigers 24-13 win against Southern Miss.