For the fourth straight time, Auburn baseball will square off against Ole Miss on Tuesday. This time, though, the matchup will have the added weight of the postseason.
No. 8-seed Auburn baseball opens its time in the 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon with No. 9-seed Ole Miss. The Tigers took the first two games of their recent weekend series against the Rebels, but Ole Miss picked up an 8-4 win on Sunday.
Auburn (34-22, 16-14 SEC) will go with its ace Keegan Thompson for the Tuesday matchup in Hoover, Ala. Thompson (6-5, 2.30 ERA) had a no-hitter going Friday against Ole Miss before he was pulled after a lengthy rain delay.
Tuesday’s game will be Thompson’s first appearance in the SEC Tournament as an Auburn Tiger.
“I think from the time his game was shortened last Thursday by the lightning delay, Keegan has been thinking about wanting to pitch in the SEC Tournament,” Auburn coach Butch Thompson said Monday. “It’s something he’s never done. He’s felt great and he deserves the opportunity. There’s not any player on our team we would want more than Keegan to be on the mound for us in our opening game in Hoover.”
Thompson’s win over Ole Miss last Friday snapped a seven-game losing streak for the Tigers, who went from top-5 team to one on the edge of the national rankings.
But Auburn found its groove again in its final regular season series by outscoring Ole Miss, 23-6, across three games.
The Tigers have been led offensively by center fielder Jonah Todd, who became a second-team All-SEC and All-Defensive team selection Monday. Todd ranks third in the SEC with a .385 batting average, and he’s knocked in 33 runs this season.
“Jonah’s story, from being a true walk-on, to becoming an All-SEC player in his first year at Auburn, is truly amazing,” Thompson said. “He’s been our catalyst all season, providing an impact with his speed, defense, arm and most importantly his bat. It is a great accomplishment for a great player. I’m glad Jonah chose to attend Auburn.”
Auburn missed out on the SEC Tournament in 2016, but it one its opening round game against Kentucky in 2015. The Tigers are looking for their first multi-win tournament since 2003, when they tied for third.
Auburn baseball vs. Ole Miss pitching matchup
Auburn RHP Keegan Thompson (Jr., 6-5, 2.30 ERA) vs. Ole Miss RHP Brady Feigl (Jr., 2-2, 3.83 ERA)