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Head Coach Butch Thompson during regional practice at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL on Thursday, Jun 1, 2023.
Jamie Holt/Auburn Tigers
Head Coach Butch Thompson during regional practice at Plainsman Park in Auburn, AL on Thursday, Jun 1, 2023. Jamie Holt/Auburn Tigers

Auburn Baseball Regional Insider

For the first time in Auburn baseball history, Plainsman Park will host a regional in back-to-back years, with this year’s squad receiving the 13th overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

The Auburn Tigers capped off their season as blistering as the Alabama summer, finishing 14-6 over their last 20 games played, including back to back series wins against the #1 and #2 ranked teams (at the time). The Tigers hoisted a 34-21-1 record following the SEC tournament, and were respectfully selected as the 13th seed. The boys look to build on the momentum that the second half of the season brought and take one step closer to Omaha, as they welcome three other challengers down to The Plains.

Here's everything you need to know about the four teams and what to expect from each before first pitch Friday afternoon.


Auburn Tigers (34-21-1, 17-13 SEC)

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (41-17, 22-8 Sun Belt)

Samford Bulldogs (36-23, 15-6 SoCon)

Penn Quakers (32-14, 16-5 Ivy League)

Game Schedule


Game 1: Southern Miss vs Samford, 1 pm CT

Game 2: Auburn vs Penn, 6 pm CT


Game 3: Game 1 Loser vs Game 2 Loser, TBD

Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs Game 2 Winner, TBD


Game 5: Game 3 Loser vs Game 4 Winner, TBD

Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs Game 5 Winner, TBD


Game 7 (If Necessary): Game 6 Winner vs Game 6 Loser, TBD

Team Insight 

Auburn Tigers

At the plate, the Tigers have had no issues throughout the year. In fact, the Tigers have plated ten or more runs in 16 of their 56 games and have averaged over eight runs per contest since April 18. 

The Auburn Tigers finished third in the SEC West standings but have been one of the hottest teams in college baseball over the past month. Winning five consecutive conference series, the Tigers have found their confidence to compete with anyone. The Tigers are victors in 23 of 33 inside Plainsman Park, as well as winners in 9 straight regional games, dating back to 2018. 

The Tigers have seven players batting at or above .275, with four batting over .335 on the season. Led by freshman Ike Irish, his individual performance is a solid representation of the Tigers as a whole. Simply put, they just hit. Hitting .291 and with an on base percentage just a few ticks from .400 as a team, this offense isn’t slowing down any time soon.

The mound is where the Tigers struggled the most early on, having a team ERA (earned run average) of 8.83 halfway through conference play. However, over the past month, the ERA has been stellar, at 3.69. The Auburn staff have surrendered five or fewer runs in 10 of their last 15 games, in comparison to only 18 times through their first 41 games. The Tigers have found a reliable rotation behind Tommy Vale, and the bullpen has come along to keep Auburn in front when the game reaches the end of the ninth.

This Auburn team is no stranger to shootouts and come from behind victories, and with the pitching seemingly turning the page from its old self, watch out. Comparable to a 9 seed in March Madness (thoughts of FAU this past year), this team is clicking at the right time, and could be a dangerous underdog to make a deep run in the postseason.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Coming off a Sun Belt Championship and victorious in 19 of their previous 21 games to date, the Golden Eagles are a team that could turn some heads in the postseason. With an RPI of 21, just two behind Auburn (19), this team is confident in beating SEC opponents in regionals. Last season, USM defeated a 40 win LSU squad to advance to the Super Regionals before falling to last year’s CWS Champion Ole Miss. 

The offense, which by the numbers is very similar to Auburn’s, is led by Matthew Etzel and Dustin Dickerson, both of which are hitting .325. The two have also combined for 34 steals in 40 attempts (56-68, 82.3% as a team). Speed isn’t always needed for this offense to scratch across runs, however. Over 36% of their hits are for extra bases (206 of 562) with 14% coming via the long ball (78 of 562). 

While the offense puts up very solid numbers, the pitching performance is what carries this team. Having six arms with a 4.17 ERA or lower gives this team an edge over their opponents. The Golden Eagles pitching staff has allowed five or less runs in 34 of their 58 games, and 15 times during their current 19-2 hot streak. Four of their pitchers have recorded five or more wins, led by junior first team All-America and a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist in 2022, Tanner Hall. Hall heads into the tournament with a 12-3 record, a 2.23 ERA, and an opponent batting average of less than .200.

As one of the better two seeds in the tournament, as well as their incredibly impressive performance of late, expect this team to be playing on Sunday, or even Monday.

Samford Bulldogs

Only about a two hour drive separates the Samford campus to Auburn’s, and it’s a trip the Bulldogs have made once already this season. Samford fell to Auburn 13-3 at Plainsman Park back on April 18th. However, a 14-7 record since and SoCon champs (where they won three games on Saturday) is where the Bulldogs enter the regional. 

On paper, the Samford lineup comes into Auburn as the most powerful of the four teams, launching 101 home runs on the year. Six Bulldogs have at least nine long balls on the year, but none more powerful than John Anderson, who leads the team with 22. Six players hit above .280, with Freshman Jayden Davis topping the list, hitting .363. The team brings an average of 6.72 runs across the plate per game, as they hit .283 as a bunch.

The pitching is where Samford really struggles, as this has been a weak spot all year. Opponents are hitting .280 off the Bulldogs, and an even 6.00 ERA hangs above their head. Only one arm that has seen double digit appearances has an ERA less than 4.2, and that’s their ace, Jacob Cravey (3.19 ERA, 9-2 on the year). Cravey can eat up innings, as he averages just under 6.1 innings per outing, but the bullpen has yet to be of much help.

The offense will be able to score, but someone other than Cravey is going to have to answer the call and step up to the plate… or mound in this case, if the Bulldogs want to make a run. 

Penn Quakers

The only Ivy League representative comes in as the fourth seed, as Penn makes the NCAA regional for the first time since 1995. The Quakers make the expedition to Auburn behind an 8 game win streak including an Ivy League Championship and a 22-4 stretch since the beginning of April.

As expected, the power numbers are not eye popping from a much smaller school, as Wyatt Henseler is the only Quaker with double digit home runs (17). Ben Miller has seven, but none of his teammates have more than four. The column for batting average, however, is a different story. All eight players that have tallied at least 140 at-bats are hitting .250 or above, with that number stretching all the way to .338 in Cole Palis. The Quakers are also the only team in the Auburn regional to strike out less than 400 times, with 383 (Sam 408, USM 442, AU 490). Expect this fundamentally sound offense to play an old school style of baseball, attempting to use their speed and small ball to their advantage.

A 4.00 ERA is a number to be very proud of for the Quaker pitching staff. Seven arms are listed with a 3.2 or lower ERA, and as a whole have a 2.41 K/BB ratio (485 strikeouts, 201 walks). The Penn pen also enters with the lowest opponents batting average (OBA) at .226, giving them the largest BA to OBA margin, at +.065. Five Quakers have at least three wins by their name, and they’re led by sophomore Ryan Dromboski, at 7-2 and a 2.87 ERA in 62.2 innings pitched.

For the first time ever, in back to back years, the road to Omaha begins in Auburn, Alabama inside Plainsman Park. Welcome to postseason baseball, and welcome to the NCAA College Baseball Regionals.

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