Recap and Reaction: Auburn Baseball’s Season Ends in Gainesville

June 12, 2018 By Taylor Jones

Luke Jarvis (9).
Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators in Game 2 of the Super Regional at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

Auburn Baseball impressed the nation in their first super regional appearance since 1999. Auburn walked-off to defeat the Gators to force a game three on Sunday before having the tables turned on them in the rubber-match on Monday night. The series was full of excitement, and heartbreak. We recap the roller coaster that was the Gainesville Super Regional

Man, what a series.

The Auburn Baseball team (43-23) gave it everything they had in Monday’s season finale against the Florida Gators in the Super Regional round on the road to Omaha. After falling in game one on Saturday, Senior Luke Jarvis hit a walk-off single in game two of the series on Sunday afternoon, scoring pinch runner Cade Evans from third base to down Florida, 3-2, forcing a game three on Monday night.

It seemed as if every college baseball fan had their attention turned towards Gainesville, Florida on Monday. Both starting pitchers threw a solid game, with each relief pitcher giving everything they had. The Gators were the ones that came out victorious after a fly ball off the bat of Austin Langworthy bounced in and out of the glove of Auburn right fielder Steven Williams, and came to a resting stop over the wall, giving Florida the 3-2, extra-inning win, sending them to Omaha for the College World Series for the fourth straight season.

GAME ONE- FLORIDA 8 AUBURN 2

Casey Mize (32) Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators in Game 1 of the Super Regional at Albert A. McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

The rematch between Casey Mize and Brady Singer did not live up to the hype that was expected. In their first meeting on April 26, the duo combined to strike out 18 batters, with Singer edging out Mize in a 3-1 Florida win.

Since then, both pitchers have become top-20 draft picks, and have led their teams to the Super Regionals. In their second meeting of the season, it was all about the pendulum. It seemed as if one starter had everything working early, then the momentum shifted towards the other in a strong way.

Auburn held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the 3rd inning, following RBI singles by Josh Anthony and Edouard Julien. Mize had the advantage early, allowing two hits and a walk through two complete.

That was when the momentum began to shift.

Following the top of the 3rd inning, ESPN cameras caught a frustrated Brady Singer in the dugout slamming his glove in disgust after allowing two early runs. His teammates not only picked him up by scoring four runs, but they gave him nearly 20-minutes to cool off and regroup. After that, it was all Gators.

After two singles and a walk, Wil Dalton plated two runs to tie the game at 2-2. Austin Langworthy gave his team the lead on a sacrifice fly one at-bat later. The damage was finally complete after Kenan Bell singled to score Dalton. An error and a single by Blake Reese extend Florida’s lead to 6-2 in the 5th inning. The final two runs came on solo home runs by Deacon Liput and Nelson Maldonado in innings 6 and 8 respectively.

Mize ended his day after five complete innings, allowing six runs and issuing four walks. Davis Daniel completed the final three innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four batters. Josh Anthony led the offense with two hits and an RBI.

Singer struck out three batters and allowed only one hit after the third inning. He struck out nine total batters over 6.2 innings in Florida’s win.

GAME TWO- AUBURN 3 FLORIDA 2

Luke Jarvis (9) celebrates hitting a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 9th inning with teammates Josh Anthony (3) and Judd Ward (1).
Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators in Game 2 of the Super Regional at Alfred A. McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. on Sunday, June 10, 2018.
Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

Both starting pitchers found their groove in game two of the Super Regional. Tanner Burns of Auburn and Jackson Kowar of Florida each pitched gems, allowing one earned run each.

The game was decided from the bullpens.

Each team traded blows in the 4th inning. Nick Horvath doubled to score Blake Reese with two down in the inning to give Florida the 1-0 lead. Steven Williams answered in the bottom half of the inning with a solo home run to tie the game.

All was quiet, until the Auburn half of the 8th inning. Josh Anthony singled with one out of the inning and later scored on a double by Will Holland to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead.

Needing just three outs to earn a win, Austin Langworthy greeted Cody Greenhill, who had pitched two innings of one-hit baseball in relief heading to the 9th inning, with a solo home run over the right-field wall to tie the game, 2-2. Greenhill would finish out the inning on the mound, needing his teammates to pick him up.

They answered the call.

Brendan Venter walked to open the inning, then advanced to 2nd on a single by Jay Estes. Venter was lifted on the basepaths for Cade Evans and was in scoring position for Luke Jarvis. Jarvis ended the game by sending a deep line drive to left-center field, deep enough to get Evans home and win the game.

The win was Auburn’s first super regional win in school history.

GAME THREE- FLORIDA 3 AUBURN 2

Davis Daniel (13) Photo: Auburn Athletics

What a game this turned out to be.

Taking a 2-2 game into the bottom of the 11th inning, Florida’s Austin Langworthy steps to the plate to face Cody Greenhill. Needing just one strike to record the first out of the inning, deja vu made an appearance in Gainesville, just in time to help the Gators. Langworthy hit a fly ball to right field. Steven Williams was en route to catch the fly ball and seemed to have enough room to make the catch. Unfortunately, the ball bounced in and out of his glove, and landed just over the wall, giving Florida the 3-2 win, and securing the final spot in the College World Series beginning next weekend.

The fireworks began long before the 11th inning, though.

The Gators grabbed the first lead of the game on a solo home run by Jonathan India in the 1st inning. Auburn tied the game on a Steven Williams double that scored Will Holland in the 3rd inning.

Florida’s second run of the game happened due to trickery on the basepaths. With runners on first and third base, Nick Horvath distracted pitcher Andrew Mitchell while he was trying to steal 2nd base by tripping, making Mitchell think that he had an easy out. Meanwhile, the trip was enough to get Blake Reese home from third base, giving Florida the 2-1 lead.

Josh Anthony and Luke Jarvis combined to tie the game again in the 7th inning. With Jarvis at 3rd base, Anthony hit a deep fly ball to right-center field, that seemed to be well deep enough to score Jarvis. However, Wil Dalton’s throw was quick, and accurate to home plate, with Jarvis just beating the tag.

There were a few key defensive plays in the game as well, courtesy of Auburn’s left and center fielders.

Jay Estes dove to make a spectacular grab in center field in the 6th inning. So spectacular in fact, that Wil Dalton was on his way to 3rd base before realizing that Estes had made the play, doubling him off.

Freshman Judd Ward prevented a possible go-ahead run in the 8th inning by making a diving stop of his own.

Clint Richardson, the creator of the Auburn Uniform Database, had a famous moment two years ago during the 2016 Women’s College World Series between Auburn and Oklahoma. Monday, his famous .gif described all of us during the game.

Luke Jarvis, Judd Ward, and Jay Estes each made spectacular plays in Monday’s thrilling game-three loss. But we can not mention those three players without mentioning the work of Davis Daniel on the mound. Daniel tossed 5.1 innings of relief of starter Andrew Mitchell, striking out six batters and allowing only one hit.

REACTION:

That was a tough way to end the season for Auburn… but not a single alum, fan, booster, or coach is ashamed of how the team played during the Super Regionals. It was apparent after the game on social media.

Coach Butch Thompson:

Voice of the Tigers, Rod Bramblett:

Auburn University Athletic Director, Allen Greene:

Senior Josh Anthony:

Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Bruce Pearl:

Head Football Coach, Gus Malzahn:

University of Florida Athletic Director, Scott Stricklin:

Freshman Steven Williams:

From the bottom of our hearts, we say “Thank you, Auburn Baseball” for providing so many fun memories this season. We can not wait for 2019!