If the Auburn baseball team can win two out of its three games in this week’s final regular season series vs. Kentucky, the Tigers will be in the catbird’s seat when it comes to seeding for postseason play.
Two wins at Lexington would give the Tigers a top four seed for next week’s SEC Tournament at Hoover, which would mean an opening round bye.
After winning two games last week vs. Alabama and having the third rained out, the Tigers are 15-11 in league play with a very impressive power rating. The Tigers opened this week with the nation’s fourth highest RPI. Two wins vs. Kentucky should assure Coach Butch Thompson’s team of being a host for an NCAA regional, something that hasn’t happened for the Tigers since 2010.
The 2022 edition of the Tigers is getting contributions from a variety of players throughout the lineup, including the bullpen. As a result the record is much improved over last season with this year’s group having much more success finding ways to win close games.
Auburn’s softball team had a great chance to be an NCAA Tournament regional host, but dropped its final five games. As a result the Tigers are the No. 2 seed at the Clemson Regional where they will face a challenging No. 3 seed, the Ragin’ Cajuns from the University of Louisiana, to open the double-elimination, four-team event on Friday.
Coach Mickey Dean’s Auburn team has the talent to advance to a super regional, but the bats need to warm up after averaging just two runs per contest during the current losing streak. For the season the Tigers are averaging 6.2 runs per game.
From the notebook
• The football Tigers picked up a promising addition from the transfer portal for the 2022 season with 6-2, 210 safety Craig McDonald announcing that he is making a move from Iowa State where he was credited with 41 tackles last year. Originally from the state of Minnesota, he has three seasons of college eligibility remaining and is a high priority target for Auburn.
• The AU women’s tennis team matched the program’s deepest run in the NCAA Tournament with the Tigers advancing to the super regional round (final 16) before losing 4-1 at Texas, last season’s national champion. After setting an Auburn record for SEC wins and with key players returning, plus help expected in the signee class, look for the Tigers to be strong in 2023.
• The tennis season will continue for the highest-ranked individual Auburn players. From the men’s team junior Tyler Stice will compete for the singles title at the NCAA Championships later this month at Champaign, Ill., while Finn Murgett and Tad Maclean, last year’s runnerup duo in doubles, will try to make another run at the title.
Auburn’s No. 1 women’s player, junior Selin Ovunc, will compete at the NCAA Championships in singles as well as doubles with sophomore Ariana Arseneault.
• Including three victories in throwing events, the AU women’s team took home four individual titles at the SEC Track & Field Championships. Ashley Carter (javelin), Maura Huwalt (discus) and Madi Malone (hammer) joined runner Joyce Kimeli (steeplechase) as league champions. The women’s team finished seventh with its most titles since 2010.
The men’s squad finished 10th at the league championships held in Oxford, Miss. A highlight was James Courson’s performance in the pole vault. The senior’s effort of 17 feet, 10 1/2 inches was good enough for second place, matching the previous Auburn best finish by Clark Humphreys in the 2000 SEC meet.
Mark Murphy is the editor of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine and newsletter.