Auburn baseball opens its season Friday with a three-game series against Presbyterian at Plainsman Park. The Tigers were 13-5 last year before the season was cut short because of COVID-19.
Auburn enters the season as the No. 17 ranked team in the country despite losing ace pitcher Tanner Burns and pitcher Bailey Horn to the MLB Draft. The Tigers also look to replace starting first baseman Conor Davis and catcher Matt Scheffler this season.
With Burns now a member of the Cleveland Indians, Cody Greenhill moves from the closer role to the ace of Auburn’s pitching staff. Richard Fitts and Mason Barnett fill out Auburn’s weekend rotation.
Offensively, Auburn is led by Preseason First-Team All-SEC and All-Americans in shortstop Ryan Bliss and third baseman Rankin Woley. In last year’s shortened season, Bliss started all 18 games at shortstop and was second in the SEC and sixth in the country with 29 hits. Bliss had a .377 batting average along with seven doubles, two triples, two home runs and 17 RBI. Woley started in all 18 games last season at third base, batting .412 with 28 hits, a team-high eight doubles, two home runs and 22 RBI. Woley ranked top 20 in the country in hits, doubles and RBI.
Judd Ward, Kason Howell and Steven Williams all return to fill out Auburn’s outfield. The three outfielders combine for 321 career starts. Williams may also see some time at catcher as Nate LaRue, Ben Schorr, Ryan Dyal and Peyton Sybrandt all could split time behind the plat as the team replaces Scheffler.
Tyler Miller enters the season as Auburn’s new first baseman as the team replaces Davis. Miller hit .229 in 12 games with nine runs, one triple and 5 RBI.
Auburn looks for a fast start to the season on Opening Day against Presbyterian. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT on Friday at Plainsman Park.