Auburn continued their offensive drive in the NCAA Regional at Plainsman Park in a 21-7 rout Saturday night against Florida State. The Tigers are 2-0 regionally. Auburn awaits the winner of Sunday’s playoff game at 1 p.m. CT between the Seminoles and UCLA, which eliminated Southeast Louisiana hours before Auburn blasted FSU in front of a sold-out crowd.
Auburn head coach Butch Thompson declined to name a starter for Sunday’s 6 p.m. game because he doesn’t know who the opponent will be until hours before the game. Winning the first two games puts the Tigers in a prime position to win the regional. Florida State or UCLA are expected to win two games on Sunday and defeat Auburn on Monday in a playoff game.
“We won’t know who we’re up against until we start our pregame, so it’s going to be a big challenge for us tomorrow, whether it’s Florida State or UCLA,” Thompson said. We’ll have to wait a bit to figure that out. Grateful for the importance of the point of view at which we are. Florida State and UCLA are absolutely equipped and can recover from this situation and win this region. The importance of the game we just played gives us a chance to play for him.
The Tigers need a win to advance to the super regional on Sunday or Monday. Let’s see how Auburn scored 21 points against Florida State. In honor of Auburn’s seven-run fourth inning, we’ll go with seven observations from Tiger’s victory.
1. Auburn’s home plate approach against Seminoles starter Bryce Hubbart was magnificent. Hubbart entered the game 8-2 with 94 strikeouts to 18 walks. Hubbart had allowed just 63 hits in 73 2/3 innings before facing Auburn.
Hubbart allowed four hits, a home run, a double and three walks for 2 1/3 innings. Auburn held a 3-0 lead when Hubbart left the game after throwing 68 pitches.
“They fouled so many courts against us after they were 0-2 down,” Florida State manager Mike Martin Jr said after the game. “Guys who can foul on the court make a lot of money in the big leagues. Their approach to the plate made it very difficult for us.
2. Broady Moore had seven plate appearances and reached base each time. He was 5-5 with two walks. Moore also completed two runs. Moore was one of several Tiger hitters who performed well.
3. Joseph Gonzalez had a tough time in the third inning allowing just one run. Gonzalez took advantage of a double play on a liner from second baseman Cole Foster to end the frame with runners left on base for FSU.
“Another positive night for us,” said Thompson. “A great pitching performance from Joseph. We played an incredible team offense and played together on those two nights, so at least we’re giving ourselves the opportunity to play for a regional championship.
Gonzalez pitched six innings. He allowed four hits and three earned runs. Two of those runs came after Gonzalez left runners for reliever Carson Swilling. Pinched hitter Treyton Rank hit a three-run homer against Swilling.
4. Rank’s home run had minimal impact as Auburn entered the bottom half of the seventh inning with a 15-1 advantage. Auburn scored seven runs in the fourth inning to open the game.
5. Auburn scored in all but two innings while going 19 hits, including three doubles by Kason Howell. The Tigers also benefited from 16 FSU walks and four Seminole errors.
6. Florida State used seven pitchers compared to Auburn, after using three. John Armstrong completed the final two innings after Swilling pitched the seventh. Auburn had 19 hits, including a ball that hovered over the high right-field fence at Plainsman Park by Sonny DiChiara in the ninth. DiChiara has 20 homers this season for Auburn.
7. The atmosphere in and around Plainsman Mark was electric for the second night in a row. Over 4,000 fans inside the ballpark and several hundred gathered on the hill behind the left field fence. Those who couldn’t climb the hill stood and watched from the parking lot. Fans were rowdy and were treated to 40 runs over two days by the Tigers.
Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl and several players, including Wendell Greene and Allen Flanigan, were in the crowd. Athletes from multiple sports joined Auburn alumni and fans to cheer on the baseball team on a hot June day on the Plains.
“There’s engagement and interaction now,” Thompson said of the fan support. There is electricity in the park. It’s closer to how we act in our basketball and football games. The fans are now part of it. It’s awesome.