Hoover, Ala.—While NCAA Tournament baseball projections from Baseball America and Perfect Game still have Auburn making a regional when the selections are announced on Monday, the Tigers didn’t help themselves on Tuesday with a 6-3 loss to Alabama in an SEC Tournament first round game.
Now 33-23 overall, Coach John Pawlowski’s club will still have one of the top 40 RPIs in the country and the coach contends the strong finish will be enough to get his team into the tournament.
“When you look at where our team was, I’m really proud of this group since the beginning of the season,” Pawlowski said. “To finish the way we did, winning three conference series and one at Florida on the road, I feel like we put ourselves in a position that I feel like we’ve done enough to be in the NCAA Tournament. They have to make some decisions, but I do feel like we’ve done enough to be in the tournament.”
That finish is what the Tigers must hang their hats on as Auburn won series against Ole Miss, Florida and Arkansas the last three weeks of the SEC season. Including a series win over Texas A&M, Auburn won 12 conference games the last seven weeks of the conference regular season. Only Vanderbilt, LSU and Mississippi State won more games in the league than the Tigers during that stretch.
A major concern for Auburn is a lack of non-conference strength of schedule. With a game at Troy the top RPI road game out of league play and a win over #77 RPI College of Charleston the top two out of league games, the Tigers will likely need the major conference tournaments to hold true to form in order to get a bid.
Until then all they can do is sit and wait. Pawlowski said with a long six days until they know what the future holds, the Tigers try to prepare and be ready if and when the call comes.
“It happened so fast that we’ve got to regroup and sort everything out,” Pawlowski said. “We’ll meet as a staff and try to determine what the best route is for this club. I know these guys are very disappointed. We charged late in the season. They did a great job and I’m really proud of them. I hope we can continue on playing.”
His closer Terrance Dedrick echoed those sentiments. Unable to hold off the Tide with the game on the line in the 6-3 loss to Alabama, the junior said now the tough part is ahead as Auburn must wait and see what happens.
“It’s always tough not knowing what the outcome is going to be and relying on other people and what they do,” Dedrick said. “It’s going to be a tough week.”
The 2013 NCAA Selection Show will air Monday, May 27th at 11 a.m. CDT on ESPNU.
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