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'We're not done yet': Auburn eager for Gainesville Super Regional showdown
<em>Auburn practiced Friday at McKethan Stadium, preparing for Saturday's super regional against Florida. Photo: Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics</em>
Auburn practiced Friday at McKethan Stadium, preparing for Saturday's super regional against Florida. Photo: Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics
June 8, 2018

By Jeff Shearer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Cooling off with a frozen fruit bar after a sultry midday practice Friday at McKethan Stadium, Auburn coach Butch Thompson reflected on the Tigers' first super regional appearance in 19 years.

"This is great for our players who have worked so hard," Thompson said. "For us to do something that hasn't been done in almost 20 years is a big deal.

"Every player who's put on an Auburn uniform. Every single player. Every single coach who's been a part of Auburn. I want them all to share in this and be behind us right now. We can sense and feel the Auburn family behind us. This is special."

The Tigers retreated to their hotel three miles away to rest and rehydrate, anticipating an early Saturday return to the ballpark for their 11 a.m. CT start against No. 1 seed Florida on ESPN.

"When you get a special matchup like Casey Mize and Brady Singer, it's amazing," said Thompson of Saturday's pitching pairing featuring first-round MLB draftees. "I think every coach, every player, every person involved is so excited about that matchup again tomorrow.

"That won't be the whole game, but that'll be a huge part of it. Anybody who loves college baseball nationwide will be interested in the outcome of tomorrow's game."

For Mize, Saturday's start caps a whirlwind week that began Monday with the Detroit Tigers picking Casey with the No. 1 overall selection.

"I'm very relieved," Mize said. "It was a great process and a great day on draft day, but I'm very relieved to have it over and now we can just focus on what we're trying to do for the rest of the year."

The Tigers arrived in Gainesville after sweeping the Raleigh Regional, outscoring opponents 40-12 while bashing 50 hits.

"The weekend we had where we swung the bats very well, hopefully that will continue," senior second baseman Luke Jarvis said. "We know we can play here. We've done it before in the season (an 11-5 win on April 27), we took one. We're feeling pretty good going into this weekend. Coming off of last weekend, the only thing we can have is confidence this weekend."

"You always have a chip on your shoulder," said infield Brendan Venter. "We're playing Florida, first in the country. You've got to come out here and play the game. Anything's possible. We're looking forward to competing this weekend."

Legacy. Attack. Vision. The building blocks on which Butch Thompson constructed Auburn baseball's return to a super regional.

Casey Mize, who's been there since day one of the Thompson era, saw it coming.

"We've come so far," Mize said. "It's just a part of the plan. I think Coach Thompson knew what he was doing when he got here two years ago, what he wanted and what his vision was for our program and I think we're living it right now. It's awesome to be a part of, but obviously we're not done yet."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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