Although the baseball Tigers received bad news this week when they learned that pitcher Davis Daniel won’t be back this season and will need Tommy John surgery, the potential is still there for this group to make a run in postseason.
Auburn goes into its road series at Vanderbilt this week very much in the SEC race and in a good position to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. With 10 league victories and a dozen more SEC games to play the Tigers probably don’t need to do better than playing .500 ball in those contests to be an NCAA Tournament regional host.
The conference is very strong in baseball again this year and putting together a successful finish to the regular season is easier said than done. Something that could help make that happen is better news on the other missing starter in the SEC pitching rotation with lefty Jack Owen coming through with an impressive performance in his comeback debut vs. Ole Miss. If Owen returns to his pre-injury form, the pitching staff will look more like the group that got off to a strong start this season.
It’s often the case in college baseball that hitters get hotter as the weather warms. The Tigers need that to happen because they have won many of their games despite proven performers like Steven Williams, Will Holland and others struggling at the plate.
On the subject of struggles, the Auburn softball team was in great position two weeks ago in a tie for first place in the SEC. Since then the Tigers have lost their last five conference games and have done major damage to their NCAA Tournament resume in the process.
Without a doubt the Tigers miss their injured ace pitcher, Makayla Martin, but that doesn’t explain their level of inconsistency.
At the other end of the consistency spectrum is the only national championship team on the Auburn campus. Coach Greg Williams saw his equestrian squad become the first in the history of the sport to go through an entire season without a loss.
Victory 18 for the Tigers was too close for comfort, but Auburn came through under pressure to win the sixth national championship for the program as the seniors went out in style by not only defending their 2018 national title, they won the big event for a third time in their four seasons of competition.
On the subject of defending titles, the Auburn men’s golf team is at Sea Island, Ga., this week looking to win back-to-back SEC championships. The AU women’s squad reached the semi-finals of its conference championship last weekend and the men’s team, which has been very good in the match play format used at the conference tournament, has the firepower to win another one.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Tigers magazine and newsletter