When the Auburn Tiger baseball team took the field against George Washington to begin the season, what were most fans expectations? Make the SEC tournament? Finish with a .500 record? Just improve from last year? Well the Tigers are absolutely shattering those expectations as they are currently top ten in the nation and sporting a 30-13 record and a 12-6 record in conference play. Also, in the most recent poll by Baseball America, Auburn was ranked number five nationally while USA Today has the Tigers ranked ninth. Who would have seen Auburn, a team that has not made the College World Series since 1997 and has not won the SEC tournament since 1989, in the top ten nationally and the best team in the SEC by late April? Nobody.
Auburn started to turn some heads by sweeping a well-respected Florida team to open conference play back in mid-March, then took two out of three from Georgia in their first conference road trip of the season. What transpired on Sunday will become a major turning point for the Auburn Baseball team- a series win against the previously best ranked SEC team, Arkansas. The series win pulled Auburn into a tie for second in the SEC with Arkansas and Kentucky, just one game behind Mississippi State. Not only did the Tigers win two games in the series, the Auburn offence put up 15 runs in a 15-2 rout Friday night, then put up 11 runs in an 11-6 victory Sunday night. It’s obvious that Auburn’s offence, which does not have any elite prospects of any kind yet, is clicking on all cylinders. Junior third baseman Josh Anthony has emerged as the leader of the Tigers at the plate, as he tallied nine hits and seven RBI in the series against the Razorbacks.
On the mound, Auburn’s one-two punch of redshirt junior Keegan Thompson and sophomore Casey Mize has been unbeatable for the Tigers. Thompson, who redshirted last year due to injury, is sporting a 1.48 ERA and a 5-1 record through nine starts. Casey Mize solidified his spot in the rotation this year and has been very effective through nine starts this season, as he holds a 1.23 ERA and a 6-1 record.
Now Auburn heads into perhaps their toughest test of the season this weekend, a three game road trip against Mississippi State, who holds the best record in the SEC. The way the Tigers have been playing against in-conference rivals, it’s sure to be a great game. Game one is Friday night at 6:30 on SEC Network +, Game two will be Saturday night at 7:00 on SEC Network, and game three will be at 12:30 also on SEC Network.