Prior to Auburn Baseball’s departure for Corvallis, Oregon, on Thursday, head coach Butch Thompson told reporters that this year’s squad was special, citing that the players have meshed well with one another, which has formed a healthy clubhouse.
Auburn’s “got your back” mentality was on full display during game one of the Corvallis Super Regional, in the form of the bullpen, which was instrumental in Auburn’s 7-5 win over Oregon in game one of the best-of-three series.
Auburn starting pitcher Trace Bright’s night unfortunately ended after recording just two outs on 47 pitches. Thompson called on John Armstrong to dig them out of a hole, before handing the baseball to Tommy Sheehan. That is where the Tigers began finding success on the mound.
Sheehan took control of the game on the mound by tossing 3.1 innings of shut-out baseball, striking out three batters and allowing two hits. Sheehan’s confidence grew with every pitch, which erased the pressure that his team felt early on.
“We have had a ‘next man up’ mentality all year, and we just tried to stick with that, not try to do too much out there in a big spot,” Sheehan said in a postgame interview with the Auburn Sports Network. “(I just) tried to be myself and stick to the game plan and let the guys field behind me.”
Sheehan exited the game after the 5th inning, turning the keys over to Carson skipper and Blake Burkhalter to close the game. Their outings were just as successful as Sheehan’s, which helped Auburn grab that valuable game one victory. Skipper struck out five batters in 3.0 innings of relief, which set up Burkhalter to grab his SEC-best 14th save of the season after allowing a run on two hits in the 9th inning.
“Those are the guys we want to get (the ball to), they have been our guys all year,” said Sheehan. “My motto has been ‘get the ball to (Burkhalter)’ all year. That’s what we did and it worked out for us.”
Auburn will turn to Joseph Gonzalez for game…