"I mean Cimo is a great second baseman and he makes me stay on my toes and to come here and play, it's a battle," Ebert says. "I think it helps. Either way, Coach (John) Pawlowski is a great coach and he's going to make the right decision whether I've got a different role or whether I'm the starting second baseman. I just really want to come and help this team because ultimately our goal is going to Omaha. Whatever I can do to help get there is the role I will take."
A Louisville Slugger All-American, Ebert was a standout at Baldwin County High in Bay Minette his final three years of high school after playing as a freshman at Fairhope. Hitting .344 as a senior with five home runs, 17 doubles, 26 stolen bases and 31 RBI as a senior, Ebert was named a Power Showcase All-American and finished second in their Home Run Derby at Chase Field.
In addition to his exploits on the field for Baldwin County, Ebert also played summer ball for the East Cobb Braves in one of the premier baseball leagues in the country for an amateur player. He notes that experience really helped him make the jump to Auburn this year, but it was still a shock for him when he started fall practice and matched up against veteran college players for the first time.
"Honestly, playing the summer ball thing and seeing the pitching I saw I really didn't think it was going to be as important as it actually was," Ebert says of fall practice. "When I got here I realized these pitchers are the real deal and if you don't come to play every single day they're going to eat you for lunch. It's a lot of work on top of school so it's a tough game."
The good news for Ebert and the Tigers is that a veteran group of positions players is back this season to help guide the newcomers through the ups and downs of a long season in the SEC. With guys like Garrett Cooper and Dan Glevenyak on the infield, Blake Austin behind the plate, and Cullen Wacker and Ryan Tella in the outfield, Auburn has plenty of experienced players that Ebert says he can look to for advice this fall. In face he says he's already done that.
"To be able to come to games last year and seeing that they've been here before and being able to rely on our juniors and seniors, they've been through the fire," Ebert says. "It's a lot more helpful than you would realize just because the fact that they know what's coming and they are just trying to prepare us mentally. I think our juniors and seniors have done a really good job getting us ready."
Auburn opens the season Feb. 15 against Maine at Plainsman Park. The Tigers will play a single game on Friday, a doubleheader on Saturday, and one more on Sunday against the Black Bears.