Auburn, Ala.--Facing SEC baseball leader Mississippi State (29-14, 13-5) this weekend in Starkville, the Auburn Tigers (30-13, 12-6) got some good news with sophomore starting pitcher Casey Mize having three good days of throwing after missing the Arkansas series last weekend.
Throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday and feeling good, Mize will continue to be evaluated said Coach Butch Thompson and will be available to throw against the Bulldogs.
“I met with Casey and Sean Striker, our trainer, this morning and he (Mize) felt great so it’s an unbelievable report,” Thompson said. “I still want the responsibility this weekend of when and how we use Casey to be on the coach and not the player. We’ll treat three times today, we’ll come back and throw tomorrow.
“I think he’ll throw aggressively to check in one more time. We’ll go Thompson, Daniel, TBA. I think Casey is available to pitch this weekend and wants to pitch this weekend, but we’ll go this route to make it a coaches’ decision and put the responsibility on the coach instead of the player to allow him to keep trying to get better and 100 percent everyday.”
Getting Mize back is a big boost for the Tigers considering what he’s done this season. With a 6-1 record and an ERA of just 1.23, Mize has been among the best in the country in strikeouts this season with 82 in only 58 ? innings while issuing just eight walks.
With Friday starter Keegan Thompson (5-1, 1.48) and Saturday starter Davis Daniel (3-2, 4.14) set for the weekend, Butch Thompson said they’ll just play things by ear this weekend with Mize with the possibility of some weather issues over the weekend.
“I liked seeing how aggressive he was and how he worked,” the second-year AU head coach said. “You always look that next day on how they check in. He did real work yesterday and we had a great check-in this morning. We potentially may have weather shortening a day so with all these things that are bouncing through my head and our staff’s head, we’ll go TBA for game three, but I would anticipate on a normal weekend that Casey would draw that start and want that start.”
Some good news for the Tigers on the pitching front as well continues to be the development of redshirt junior Kevin Davis and true freshman Elliot Anderson. While Davis has yet to see action in a game this season he’s been impressive enough recently that the coaches feel good about him as part of the 27-man travel squad.
As for Anderson, the left-hander has made seven appearances with a 9.95 ERA, but is coming off a solid performance Tuesday night against Troy.
“Yeah, I was excited,” Butch Thompson said. “I thought he looked the part the other night, I thought it was really positive…yeah. And with Andrew Mitchell as a lefty, I’ve been begging all year to try to get a second lefty in the mix. Everyone is working hard and trying hard, but I thought he earned it.
“He earns this right to go on this trip by what he did, so yes, he’s on this trip and I’m glad he’s going. I like the perseverance he’s shown. He’s been working a lot behind the scenes after getting some opportunities early and I thought he did a nice job. Our whole staff voted him on the 27 man this week.”
The Tigers and Bulldogs will square off in a three-game series at Dudy Noble Field this weekend with game time scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Both Saturday and Sunday can be seen on the SEC Network.