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Auburn's Keegan Thompson in for anything against Vandy
March 19, 2015

KeeganThompson
He's baaaack, like he was here last season: Auburn's Keegan Thompson seeing time at first base as well as a pitcher

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. -- Keegan Thompson figures the last time he had taken grounders as a first baseman was 10 months ago.

Keegan, considered the ace of the pitching staff, go get a different glove. You're playing first tonight.

That was what Thompson learned Tuesday when he played there without an error and added a triple in his first at-bat of the season in a 6-4 win over UAB.

"It was all luck," Thompson smiled Thursday.

The stakes will be higher Friday, the start of a weekend series at Plainsman Park against No. 4 Vanderbilt. Thompson will be in the lineup, but this time as the starting pitcher with a 3-2 record and a 4.11 ERA. Auburn is 14-7 overall and 0-3 in the SEC after being swept last weekend by unbeaten Texas A&M, and the SEC's Murderers' Row continues with Vanderbilt, last year's College World Series champion, and then at No. 20 Mississippi State next weekend.

Oh, then a home series with Arkansas and then a series at No. 2 LSU after that.

This weekend's games are scheduled to start, weather permitting, at 6 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Auburn coach Sunny Golloway said Thompson could get at-bats this weekend, at least as a right-handed bat off the bench against left-handers. Thompson says he's ready for most anything, like playing first base if called upon. He had not been out there in a while.

"I haven't taken a groundball since May 10 of last year," he said.

But Golloway said he didn't have a problem putting him in the lineup.

"I asked him if he was up to it against UAB. He just started getting into the swing of things. He steps up in Keegan fashion and triples in his first a-bat," Golloway said.

"He just loves playing the game. You could tell he missed it. He loved being back in the lineup. We will use him. Will we start him to be at first base? Still to be determined. I am going to look at some things.

"Knowing they are starting three right-handers, it's going to be a tough challenge for all our right-handed hitters because they throw the hard breaking ball. Keegan is as good as anybody of taking the ball out of the zone and getting after pitchers in the zone."

Thompson, the first baseman, was a happy story at UAB. Vanderbilt will present a different challenge for him. The Commodores, ranked fourth nationally, are 17-4 overall and 3-0 in the SEC.

"I think it's going to be a tremendous challenge. I think our kids are excited," Golloway said. "I can remember winning a national championship in 1994. Everywhere you went you were defending national champs. It seemed like everybody was after you. That's what Vanderbilt is experiencing this year. It will be their first road SEC challenge. I know our kids are really looking forward to it because they are national champs, but because they are a good program."


Golloway said Auburn could be better than the record shows.

"We played bad one week. We played a bad midweek game (against Samford) and then played a Texas A&M team that played pretty much flawless at home. That one week, I think, made everything kind of go, 'man, what's wrong all of a sudden?' I don't think anything is wrong. I think we are in a very tough league and getting better every day," he said.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

 

 

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