Tallahassee, Fla.--Coming back from a disappointing defeat to Florida State is something Auburn has done before, but unlike a national title game in football the Tigers only have to wait one day to get another shot at the Seminoles with a chance to advance to an NCAA Baseball Tournament Super Regional on the line when the two teams face off Monday night in a winner-take-all game at Dick Howser Stadium.
The first pitch is set for shortly after 6 p.m. CDT and the contest will be televised on ESPN2.
Falling behind by four runs early on Sunday, Auburn fought back to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning only to see Florida State score runs in both the bottom of the ninth and 10th after the Tigers retired the first two batters of each inning.
Now forced to regroup and get back on the field with one more chance to make it out of regional play for the first time since 1999 for an Auburn team, Coach Butch Thompson said his team just has to let it go and be ready to start fresh on Monday night.
“I just told them it’s gone,” he said of his message to the team. “It needs to be gone now. You’ve got the rest of your life to look back at something. As long as we’ve got an opportunity to play one more game, have one more pitch, one more at-bat, that’s my job to try to keep them there. We’ll have to come back out and give our best effort (on Monday). That’s all we can do.”
The rematch will come following a gut-wrenching loss to the Seminoles on Sunday when senior reliever Cole Lipscomb put together his best performance of the year for the Tigers. Throwing seven and two/thirds innings and striking out 10, he allowed three runs and threw a season-high 99 pitches.
If Auburn doesn’t win on Monday night it would be a fitting final outing for Lipscomb to end with, but Thompson said that’s not even in their thought process at the moment. All they’re concerned about is trying to beat Florida State and keep the season alive.
“I need him to be able to speak to our pitching staff and our catchers to talk about everything he was involved in during the ball game,” said Thompson. “Everything he went through with the lineup, that’s where I need his mind right now.
“To be unbelievably focused on trying to pass along information and assist, and during innings play pitching coach with whoever is in the ball game to try to pass information and keep giving clues from all the work that he did (on Sunday).”
Auburn is expected to start either senior Gabe Klobosits (0-0, 4.64 ERA) or freshman Ryan Watson (1-1, 4.80) with both Andrew Mitchell and Calvin Coker available after throwing short stints in relief on Sunday. The Tigers also have Corey Herndon, Elliott Anderson and Christian Camacho available to face the Seminoles.
Florida State is expected to throw junior RHP Will Zirzow. This season he is 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 18 appearances with three starts. His last outing was on May 9 when he allowed a run on three hits in four innings against Jacksonville.