OMAHA, Neb. With stomach ailments and nearly seven decades of history working against them, Auburn Tigers had two chances on Monday when they finished second to Stanford in the World Series of Men’s College. Attack or go home.
“It simply came to our notice then [help] a group of players and coaches leave without regret, “said Tigers coach Butch Thompson after his team won 6: 2, the first MCWS win in 25 years.” Just let it go. What are we doing, confusing or making a mistake? I want them to attack as much as they can. “
Stanford was the highest seed in the MCWS industry and had never lost in Omaha in 17 previous MCWS trips since 1953. But it was sent home 0: 2 on Monday after Cole Foster made a three-run double in the sixth inning to take Auburn to Tuesday’s playoffs against the loser of Monday night’s Ole Miss-Arkansas game.
According to Foster Thompson, after the biggest hit of his life, he could barely get to another base because he was so ill. Foster didn’t show up for the post-game press conference because he had to get IV fluid after the game, Thompson said.
Foster had left Saturday’s game against Ole Miss 5: 1 in the fourth inning due to illness. In a pre-game interview with Andy Burcham, the voice carrier for Auburn Tigers, Thompson said he has “seven or eight men in the toilet too much and is not feeling well after a difficult week.” But he did not want to make any excuses.
Thompson assured ESPN late Monday night that the Tigers had stomach upset.
But sitting in a hotel room on Sunday night, Thompson seemed more connected to history. He knew that after the first loss in the last four decades, only four teams had won the national championship, so he turned to two coaches from those teams: Pat Casey of Oregon (2006 and 2018) and Ray Tanner of South Carolina (2010).
He asked them to take him on a journey with their teams. Tanner, who was called on Monday night, said he was exchanging messages with Thompson around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Tanner told him that baseball is a game of failure, but failure cannot be feared. You can’t wait until something happens; you have to make it happen.
Auburn exited in a 2-0 defeat on the fifth shift on Monday. It got nothing for them; Tigers tried a double theft, but Foster was caught between the third and home.
But on the next shift, they hit hard. The singles, backstroke and walk gave Auburn his first race in sixth place. Foster then cleaned the bases from the middle wall with his double.
“They got down,” Tanner said. “But they pressed the buttons and made movements.”
Auburn added two more races in the doubles match between Blake Rambusch and Bobby Pierce. Stanford’s last real chance to rally came in the late seventh, when the Cardinal laid the groundwork and Blake Burkhalter was called out of Auburn’s oxen.
Burkhalter hit Stanford lead Brett Barrera on the cutter to end the rally.
“You know the bases are loaded, but you have to rinse it,” said Burkhalter, who made five strokes in the last 2⅓ rounds and fired just one hit.
“I don’t think I had a fastball command all day, but the cutter worked and the shift worked and I had to rely on that. I got that, I think it was 3-2. I was on the verge of walking with him, but luckily I got it hit and I brought us out of the square. “
Thompson said beating Stanford’s caliber program is an important step in the history of Auburn’s baseball. He said he was watching the cardinal’s success as a child growing up in Mississippi.
As Stanford prepared to leave Omaha, Cardinal’s coach Dave Esquer said he wouldn’t spend much time thinking about Monday’s historical significance.
“I’m proud of these men,” Esquer said. “And nothing will take away from what we have achieved this year.
“I mentioned to them in our conversation that as time goes on, no one will remember what the outcome of our game was or what our record was here in Omaha. I think what I remember was the opportunity for me to participate. I love and spend about a week trying to play for the national championship.
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