Lessons learned from Auburn’s 21-7 win over FSU in the Regional League

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Lessons learned from Auburn's 21-7 win over FSU in the Regional League

Auburn continued his offensive attack in the NCAA Regional at Plainsman Park during a 21-7 loss to Florida State Saturday night. The Tigers are 2-0 in the regional league. Auburn awaits the winner of Sunday’s 1:00 pm CT elimination game between the Seminoles and UCLA, who eliminated Southeast Louisiana against FSU to a packed house a few hours before Auburn.

Auburn head coach Butch Thompson declined to name a starter for Sunday’s 6 p.m. CT game because he doesn’t know who the opponent will be until a couple of hours before the game. Winning the first two games puts the Tigers in a prime position to win the Regionalliga. Either Florida State or UCLA would need to win two games on Sunday and defeat Auburn in an eliminator on Monday.

“We won’t know who we’re going to play against until we start our pregame, so that’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 while to find out. Grateful for the importance of where we are. Florida State and UCLA are absolutely primed and can come back through this and win this region. The importance of the game we just played gives us a chance to play for it.”

The Tigers need a win to advance to the super region on either Sunday or Monday. Let’s dive into how Auburn scored 21 runs against Florida State. In honor of Auburn’s fourth run in seven, we leave the Tiger win with seven observations.

1. Auburn’s plate approach against Seminoles starter Bryce Hubbart was great. Hubbart went into the game with an 8-2 record with 94 strikeouts compared to 18 walks. Hubbart had allowed just 63 hits over 73 2/3 innings before facing Auburn.

Hubbart allowed four hits, a homer, a double and three walks during 2 1/3 innings. Auburn was leading 3-0 when Hubbart left the game after throwing 68 pitches.

“They fouled so many pitches against us after going down 2-0,” Florida State manager Mike Martin Jr. said after the game. “Guys who can foul pitches make a lot of money in the big leagues. Their approach to the record made it very difficult for us.”

2. Broady Moore has had seven plate appearances, reaching base every time. He was 5-5 with two walks. Moore also drove in two heats. Moore was one of several Tiger hitters who performed well.

3. Joseph Gonzalez worked his way through a rough patch in the third inning by only allowing one run. Gonzalez benefited from a double play on a liner for second baseman Cole Foster to end the frame with runners remaining on base for FSU.

“Another positive night for us,” Thompson said. “A great pitching performance by Joseph. We’ve had a fantastic team attack and played together these two nights, so at least we’re giving each other a chance 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. Pinch hitter Treyton Rank hit a triple home run ahead of Swilling.

4. Rank’s home run had minimal impact considering Auburn went into the bottom half of the seventh inning with a 15-1 advantage. Auburn hit seven runs in the fourth inning to open the game.

5. Auburn had runs in all but two innings while hitting 19 including three doubles by Kason Howell. The Tigers also benefited from 16 FSU walks and four Seminole errors.

6. The state of Florida used seven pitchers compared to Auburn after using three. John Armstrong finished the last two innings after Swilling pitched the seventh. Auburn had 19 hits, including a ball that flew over the tall rightfield fence at Plainsman Park in the ninth by Sonny DiChiara. 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 in the ballpark and several hundred gathered on the hill behind the left fence. Those who didn’t get to the top of the hill stood and watched from the parking deck. The fans were loud and were spoiled by the Tigers with 40 runs over two days.

Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl and several players including Wendell Greene and Allen Flanigan were in the crowd. Athletes from multiple sports joined Auburn grads and fans to cheer for the baseball team on a steamy June day on the Plains.

“There’s an engagement and an interaction now,” Thompson said of the fan support. There is electricity in the park. This is more in line with our behavior at our basketball and soccer games. The fans are a part of it now. It is great.”

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