Recap & Reaction: Tigers Sweep ‘Dores

May 7, 2018 By Taylor Jones

Casey Mize (32)
Auburn baseball vs Vanderbilt on Friday, May 4, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.
Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

After taking a tough series loss on the road at Florida, Auburn Baseball took the mid-week off to focus on final exams. The “bye” seemed to work in Auburn’s favor, as they swept #21 Vanderbilt this weekend at Plainsman Park, the Tigers’ second sweep in the last three series

Auburn Baseball continued to show college baseball world just how good they really are this weekend, by sweeping nationally-ranked, SEC-power Vanderbilt at home. Friday night’s game saw an Auburn icon match history, Saturday we witnessed the power of our northern neighbor, and Sunday, Auburn put the nail in the coffin.

Auburn has now won three of their last four SEC series, including two sweeps, and has won 8 out of their last 10 games.

Friday: Auburn 4 Vanderbilt 1

Just when we think that we have seen the best that Casey Mize has to offer, the Auburn superstar pitching ace goes and surprises us again. The projected first overall pick in the upcoming MLB Draft tied history on Friday night, joining an admirable list of Auburn Baseball greats.

Mize struck out 15 Commodores on Friday night, a feat that only four Tigers before him had accomplished — Mark Chapman, John Powell, Chris Bootcheck, and Tim Hudson, some very elite pitching company you can say.

Mize (9-2) pitched his third complete game of the season in earning the win, allowing four hits and an earned run without issuing a single walk. The Springville, Al native has 117 strikeouts on the year.

Offensively, all of Auburn’s runs came via the long ball. Brett Wright quickly put Auburn on the board by launching a solo home run over the left field wall with two outs in the bottom of the 1st, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

The next launch came in the bottom of the 5th inning. After a strikeout to open the inning, Jay Estes, and Brendan Venter hit back-to-back singles to bring up Conor Davis. Davis smacked a 1-0 pitch over the centerfield wall, clearing the bases and extending Auburn’s lead to 4-0. Estes led Auburn at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two singles.

Vanderbilt’s lone run was credited to Phillip Clarke, who hit a solo home run in the 7th inning.

Saturday: Auburn 11 Vanderbilt 5

On a day that saw another strong offensive output for Auburn, there’s only one guy that comes to mind. True-freshman Edouard Julien.

Edouard Julien (10) Auburn baseball vs Vanderbilt on Saturday, May 5, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

Nicknamed “the Canadian Crusher,” Julien lived up to his namesake in the bottom of the 2nd inning by bashing a grand slam to left center, which gave the Tigers a 7-2 lead at the time. At the end of Auburn’s 11-5 win over Vandy, Julien had engraved his name into Auburn history. His 12 home runs are the most by a freshman since 1998, and his 50 RBI are the most by a freshman since 1999. The freshman is tied for 6th in the SEC in home runs and is tied for 2nd in the league in RBI with Kentucky’s Luke Heyer.

Luke Jarvis, Conor Davis, and Jay Estes were behind Julien with two RBI, Brendan Venter had one.

Estes began the scoring with a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 1st. Brendan Venter hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd inning, just before Julien’s slam. Davis was responsible for Auburn’s next two runs in the 5th and 7th innings. He was caught in-between 1st and 2nd base in the 5th inning, but it provided enough of a distraction to allow Luke Jarvis to score from 3rd base. His second RBI of the day came on a sacrifice fly in the 7th to score Jay Estes. Jarvis scored the final two runs of the day on a two-RBI single in the 8th inning.

The dynamic freshman duo of Tanner Burns and Cody Greenhill turned in another great outing on Saturday securing the series for the Auburn, combining for eight strikeouts over a combined 8.1 innings. Elliot Anderson also recorded 0.1 innings, allowing two hits and an earned run.

SUNDAY: Auburn 14 Vanderbilt 0

Sure, Casey Mize and Edouard Julien had big weekends. But so did another player, and it’s time that we give him the recognition that he deserves. That player? Conor Davis.

Conor Davis (24) Auburn baseball vs Vanderbilt on Sunday, May 6, 2018, in Auburn, Ala. Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

Overshadowed by Mize’s 15-strikeout performance and Julien’s grand slam on Saturday, Davis took the spotlight in Auburn’s 14-0 win over Vanderbilt. The sophomore was responsible for five runs, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the 7th inning and a two-run single as part of a seven-run 5th inning for Auburn.

All-in-all, Davis picked up 10 RBI on the weekend with two home runs.

Behind Davis, Brendan Venter picked up three RBI in Sunday’s game. He hit a solo home run, and picked up his last two runs in unusual fashion: by a bases-loaded walk, and reaching base on an error. Jeremy Johnson, Jay Estes, Brett Wright, and Will Holland had one RBI in the game, while Estes led the Tigers in hitting, going 3-for-4 at the plate.

Pitching also had an outstanding day, led by Andrew Mitchell. Since moving into the weekend starting rotation on April 21, Mitchell had yet to complete five innings, or pickup a win. On Sunday, he tossed a season-high 5.1 innings, striking out five batters and allowing only one hit. He also earned the win, moving his record to 1-1 on the season. Calvin Coker got back into the groove by striking out three batters over 2.2 innings, and Davis Daniel shut the door by striking out two batters in the 9th inning.

Final Thoughts:

The phrase I used to describe the Mississippi State series was “They Needed It.” Since then, Auburn has been on a tear. They found their swagger at the plate, pitching has turned it up a notch and Auburn is now a team with the “it factor.” The Tigers are now tied for 2nd place in the SEC West, just a game out of first place.

Next week’s series is huge. Both Auburn and Ole Miss are 13-11 in the SEC, and tied for 2nd place in the SEC West. They will meet in Oxford for a three-game series beginning Thursday night. Auburn is hot right now, and a series win in Oxford would put them in a great situation seeding-wise for the SEC tournament. With two SEC series remaining this season, the Tigers are getting hot at the right time. I invite everyone to Plainsman Park on Tuesday for the mid-week game against South Alabama, you won’t regret spending your time with this special bunch.