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Auburn overcomes sickness, historical past to oust Stanford

Auburn overcomes sickness, historical past to oust Stanford

9:24 PM ET

  • Elizabeth MerrillESPN Senior Author


      Elizabeth Merrill is a senior author for and ESPN The Journal. She beforehand wrote for The Kansas Metropolis Star and The Omaha World-Herald.

OMAHA, Neb. — With a abdomen bug and almost seven a long time of historical past working in opposition to them, the Auburn Tigers had been down to 2 choices Monday once they fell behind to No. 2 Stanford on the Males’s School World Collection. Assault or go dwelling.

“My job is to [help] a bunch of gamers and coaches to go away with no regrets,” Tigers coach Butch Thompson stated after his staff rallied for a 6-2 win, its first MCWS victory in 25 years. “Simply let it hang around. What are we going to do, screw one thing up or make a mistake? I need them to assault as a lot as they’ll.”

Stanford was the best seed within the MCWS discipline, and had by no means, in 17 earlier journeys to the MCWS relationship again to 1953, left Omaha with no victory. However it was despatched dwelling 0-2 Monday after Cole Foster smacked a three-run double within the sixth inning to place Auburn into Tuesday’s elimination sport in opposition to Arkansas.

After presumably the largest hit of his life, Foster, in keeping with Thompson, barely pulled into second base as a result of he was so sick. Foster didn’t seem within the postgame information convention as a result of he was speculated to obtain IV fluids after the sport, Thompson stated.

Foster had left within the fourth inning of Saturday’s sport in opposition to Ole Miss, a 5-1 loss, due to sickness. In a pregame interview with Andy Burcham, the voice of the Auburn Tigers, Thompson stated he had “seven or eight guys on the bathroom an excessive amount of and never feeling nicely from a troublesome week.” However he did not need to make any excuses.

Thompson confirmed with ESPN late Monday that the Tigers had been coping with a abdomen bug.

However sitting in his lodge room Sunday evening, Thompson appeared extra preoccupied with historical past. He knew that solely 4 groups have gained a nationwide championship after shedding the primary sport up to now 4 a long time, so he reached out to 2 coaches from these groups: Oregon State’s Pat Casey (2006 and 2018) and South Carolina’s Ray Tanner (2010).

He requested them to take him by the journeys of these groups. Tanner, reached by telephone Monday evening, stated he exchanged texts with Thompson round 9 p.m. ET Sunday. Tanner informed him that baseball is a sport of failure, however you’ll be able to’t be afraid to fail. You’ll be able to’t watch for one thing to occur; you have to make it occur.

Auburn got here out because the aggressor within the fifth inning Monday, down 2-0. It did not get them something; the Tigers tried a double steal, however Foster was caught in a rundown between third and residential.

However the subsequent inning, they struck large. Again-to-back singles, a success batsman and a stroll gave Auburn its first run within the sixth. Then Foster cleared the bases together with his double off the center-field wall.

“They acquired down,” Tanner stated. “However they had been pushing buttons and making strikes.”

Auburn added two extra runs within the seventh on doubles from Blake Rambusch and Bobby Pierce. Stanford’s final actual probability to rally got here within the backside of the seventh when the Cardinal loaded the bases, and Blake Burkhalter was summoned from the Auburn bullpen.

Burkhalter struck out Brett Barrera, Stanford’s main hitter, on a cutter to finish the rally.

” the bases are loaded, however it’s a must to flush it,” stated Burkhalter, who struck out 5 and allowed only one hit within the remaining 2⅓ innings.

“I do not suppose I had my fastball command all day, however the cutter was working and the change-up was working and that is what I needed to lean on. I acquired, what, I believe it was a 3-2 rely. I used to be proper on the point of strolling him, however fortunately I had that strikeout and acquired us off the sector.”

Thompson stated beating a program of Stanford’s caliber is a crucial step in Auburn baseball’s historical past. He stated he adopted the Cardinal’s success as a child rising up in Mississippi.

As Stanford ready to go away Omaha, Cardinal coach Dave Esquer stated he would not spend a lot time occupied with the historic significance of Monday.

“I am pleased with these guys,” Esquer stated. “And nothing will take away from what we have completed this yr.

“I discussed to them in our huddle that, when time passes, nobody goes to recollect what the rating was of any of our video games or what our document right here at Omaha was. I believe what I’ll bear in mind I had an opportunity to go to the School World Collection with a staff I really like and spend a few week attempting to play for the nationwide championship.”

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