Auburn pitching coach Steve Smith recaps the game after SEC Tournament win over Kentucky. Matthew Stevens, Montgomery Advertiser
Ryan Rolison bounced back nicely from a rough start against South Carolina with a win against Auburn Thursday.(Photo: AP)
HOOVER – Ole Miss will start its ace and will be matched by Auburn’s most consistent starter over the last few weeks.
The Rebels, which earned a bye into the double-elimination round by winning a share of the Western Division title, will start sophomore lefty Ryan Rolison (8-4, 3.95) just two weeks after the draft-eligible sophomore allowed just two earned runs against Auburn in a 5-4 win on May 10, 2018 at Swayze Field in Oxford, Miss in the beginning of a weekend series that the Rebels would eventually complete a sweep.
>“In terms of Tanner, I think this will be a good moment for him tomorrow.”Auburn pitching coach Steve Smith on throwing freshman RHP Tanner Burns on short rest in SEC Tournament.
“There was a real consistent theme (in Oxford) that held us back and it’s that they’re really good,’ Auburn pitching coach Steve Smith said. “They were coming off getting swept, great crowds and great atmosphere and they were locked and loaded. Davis Daniel actually started that series off for us on that Thursday night and I thought he missed two pitches the whole night, one left the yard but I’d put them right there with Florida and Arkansas in terms of athleticism and athletic ability.”
Following Auburn’s 4-3 win over Kentucky, Smith confirmed in the Tuesday evening media conference that freshman Tanner Burns (5-4, 3.33) will get the start after he tosse 97 pitches on Thursday in a 11-4 win over LSU at Plainsman Park. Burns lasted just 1 2/3 innings in a 10-3 loss at Ole Miss on May 12 but the former Mr. Baseball in the state of Alabama has received wins in three of his last five starts and is projected to start either the opening game or second game of Auburn’s NCAA Regional next weekend.
“In terms of Tanner, I think this will be a good moment for him tomorrow,” Smith said. “I felt like this past Thursday against LSU was his response to that outing vs. Ole Miss and I thought he answered that bell pretty well. I think he’ll answer that bell again.”>
Auburn pitcher Tanner Burns gets the win while throwing on short rest in a 11-4 win on May 17, 2018. (Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics)
Burns was asked to take the ball on short rest after being knocked out early the weekend before at Ole Miss and managed to dominate LSU over six innings in a 97-pitch effort in a 11-4 win at Plainsman Park on May 17. Due to Auburn’s coaching staff not wanting to move up ace Casey Mize an extra day for the Thursday-Saturday series, Burns was slated to take the baseball early for the first time in his college career.
“I wanted the ball,” Burns said. “My outing at Ole Miss wasn’t so hot. I’ve kind of been, I wouldn’t say down, but motivated more. As soon as I could get the ball and as quickly as I can, I was ready.”
With Auburn using both Davis Daniel and Cody Greenhill over the final 8 1/3 innings in the first round against Kentucky, Smith admitted that the Tigers bullpen “was really taxed” as it enters the double elimination portion of the SEC Tournament. Relief options for Auburn on Wednesday against Ole Miss likely include right-handed senior Calvin Coker (27 app., 4.95 ERA), left-hander Elliot Anderson (22 app., 3.81 ERA) and left-hander Welby Malczewski (21 app., 5.81 ERA).
“I know in these kind of games, in tournaments, in Regionals, we’re going to have to use some guys we probably haven’t used,” Auburn catcher Brett Wright said Monday. “You’ll see Coker come out, Elliott. It might be Herndon, all the freshmen. We’re going to have to see a lot of everybody. Everybody’s going to have to step up in these situations, and that’s what I’m excited to see.”