Auburn baseball

Auburn (42-20) boarded the team bus for Omaha early Wednesday afternoon after returning from Corvallis only hours before. The Tigers are headed to face SEC West rival Ole Miss (37-22) on Saturday in the first game in a double-elimination format.

“It was a quick turnaround for the whole team, and you know, we're ready for it. We're ready to get on the plane, and just go,” said senior Brody Moore “It's my second time in Omaha but this will be my first time actually getting to play, so I’m ready and I'm really excited for this university.”

Auburn eased through their first three regional opponents with a combined 51 runs, then escaped the Corvallis Super Regional in a riveting three-game series win against Oregon State.

“The job's not done yet and we're going to finish it,” said Moore

Their opponent, Ole Miss, was awarded the last at-large bid to get into the NCAA Tournament field, but they have certainly earned it, going 5-0 to secure its first College World Series appearance since 2014. Similar to Auburn, the Rebels have been hot at the plate in the postseason, outscoring their opponents 46-11 in the tournament.

Earlier in the year when Auburn faced Ole Miss in the regular season, the Tigers dropped two of the three games in the series. 

The biggest obstacle for Auburn that lies ahead is stopping the Rebels' offense. Ole Miss has seen quite a few impressive pitchers in the tournament already — Arizona's Garrett Irvin, Miami's Carson Palmquist and Southern Miss' Hurston Waldrep — and have put up big runs on each of them. The Tigers will need to have an impressive performance on the mound and in the field to keep the runs down.

Luckily for Auburn, pitchers like Joseph Gonzalez, Carson Skipper and Blake Burhalter have been at the top of their game in the postseason, while players like Brody Moore, Cole Foster and Kason Howell have been performing solid defensively.

For Auburn head coach Butch Thompson, the goal heading into the weekend still remains the same as it was in the first games of the tournament.

"I’m thinking about a championship, that was my goal I guess a couple of weeks ago: A bold enough statement, but when you believe something and trust in a group and you feel like it's time, it's OK to call that out," Thompson said.

This is Auburn’s second trip to the College World Series in four years. For Thompson and a couple of senior players, this World Series trip provides them a chance to redeem their early exit in 2019.

 "If you just play the Omaha game, 'Get to Omaha,' it can be like (2019) or other times I've been, when it's two and a barbecue," Thompson said. "At some point in time, you have to move your program to start really envisioning the whole thing I've been saying this whole time. It's my (motivational speaker) Les Brown quote. 'People don't fail because they aim high and miss. It's because they aim low and hit.' I need to make sure I don't underscore the potential of this team."

Auburn vs. Ole Miss begins Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will be carried live on ESPN 2.

The second matchup will either be Arkansas or No. 2 overall seed Stanford on Monday.

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