Auburn baseball may have missed out on a top 25 ranking by D1Baseball, but that does not mean that they are far away from reaching the goal.
After dropping its preseason rankings last week, the staff at D1Baseball examined several programs that just missed the cut ($). One of those is Auburn due to the possibility of having strong pitching to back up its solid bats.
Aaron Fitt of D1Baseball says that Auburn will rely on one veteran and a young bat to lead the lineup this season. If starting pitching can hold its own in crucial games, the Tigers could become mainstays in future rankings.
Ike Irish, Bobby Peirce and Cooper McMurray are the top hitters back from last year’s regional-hosting club, and the Tigers will be counting upon Irish and Peirce to hit for more power this year to anchor a new-look lineup, which will likely feature three transfers starting on the infield and another in the outfield. The Tigers have a nice blend of righthanded and lefthanded and solid all-around athleticism that should lead to good defense. The strength of the pitching staff figures to be the bullpen, but if Joseph Gonzalez can come back strong and stay healthy, and Chase Allsup can harness his huge raw stuff and throw more strikes, the Tigers could also have very good frontline pitching — those are very important “ifs”.
Auburn will face a challenging nonconference schedule in addition to its exciting SEC slate. Auburn will face Iowa, Virginia, UConn, and Georgia Tech in its nonconference draw, which will mix perfectly with an SEC schedule that features Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Alabama.
Auburn baseball opens the season on Feb. 16 against Eastern Kentucky at Plainsman Park.