Will history repeat itself for Auburn baseball in the College World Series?

Barbecue is Butch Thompson’s worst fear right now.

Before the College World Series, the Auburn baseball coach was convinced that just being here wasn’t enough. Not this time. Not after Auburn’s 2019 run ended with two straight losses in Omaha, Nebraska.

In what turned out to be a pleasantly surprising and utterly satisfying season for Auburn fans, Thompson always aimed high.

He didn’t want “two and a barbecue” anymore.

There’s no shame in the potential end Auburn (42-21) faces Monday (1 p.m. CT, ESPN) against Stanford after a 5-1 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, but the idea that history repeats casts a black shadow.

And what a fitting adversary for the subject of the story. This will be Auburn’s 15th College World Series game and fifth against Stanford. The Cardinal has won all four so far.

“We can meet as a team, meet the guys, pitch something before practice, have a practice,” Thompson said on Saturday night. “Change your linens, get together, have another meal together, and then start figuring out who the starting pitcher is, what spares we expect to see. And really get into a scouting report.”

Thompson does not yet know much about Stanford (47-17). What he does know is that Stanford is intimidating because of his offense. Cardinal’s roster alone is worth all that attention and preparation, especially since Auburn could have Trace Bright on the mound looking for new confidence after a first-inning outing in his last start.

But so that history does not repeat itself, this is not what deserves the most attention.

Auburn’s ridged range has descended into another valley, and Bright won’t matter if the bats don’t wake up.

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“It’s three straight games where we just haven’t (hit),” Thompson said after the Ole Miss loss, pointing out that Auburn had just three hits in the game-clinching win over Oregon State. .

In that three-game streak, Auburn has 12 hits. One round every two.

During that three-game streak, Auburn walked four times.

During that three-game streak, Auburn had three leading hitters reach base.

In that three-game stretch, Auburn is 6 for 25 when runners are on base.

“I think it’s wide open. I think every team here had to climb some kind of mountain and be successful to get here. I also think it’s one of the best years I can remember in the college baseball,” Thompson said. “Logically, you feel like most teams here have a chance, and that’s the one that catches fire.”

Auburn caught fire during the regional in which they edged their opponents by 33 points. Stellar opposing pitching and inland winds from Omaha on Saturday helped put out the fire.

Collapses happen. A few of the Tigers’ most important leaders fell for it at the wrong time. Senior Kason Howell is 0-for-14 in the last five games. Point guard Blake Rambusch, once a .356 hitter, is now 1 for 21 since Game 1 of the NCAA Tournament. In the No. 2 hole, Cole Foster is 4 for 21 since that game, and he quit Saturday due to illness in the fifth inning. These two guys set the tone for Sonny DiChiara.

“We fought back a lot,” cleanup hitter Bobby Peirce said. “A defeat is not going to kill us.”

“Today wasn’t really a true testament to who we are,” added senior Carson Skipper. “Monday is going to be a different story.”

There is reason to trust them. Auburn is 16-4 in games after a loss this season. There is recent history that supports the Tigers’ case.

But finding that elusive victory in Omaha requires battling a three-year-old story.

About Harold Shirley

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