May 21, 2018
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After capping off the regular season with the best finish in the Southeastern Conference Western Division since 2011, a record seven Auburn players earned All-SEC honors as announced by the league office Monday afternoon. Casey Mize was named a first-team starting pitcher, and Will Holland was named a second-team shortstop. A quartet of freshman in Tanner Burns, Cody Greenhill, Edouard Julien and Steven Williams were named to the all-freshman team, and Luke Jarvis was named to the all-defensive team at second base.
The seven members who earned All-SEC honors eclipse the six Tigers who picked up all-conference recognition in 2010 and are tied with Arkansas for the most players to be recognized this season.
“It’s exciting for a record number of our players to be recognized in the best conference in America,” head coach Butch Thompson said. “We’re happy to see them be rewarded for all of their hard work. I’m proud of all of our guys, not just the ones who won awards, for how they represent our program both on and off the field.”
Mize becomes the first Auburn pitcher to earn First Team All-SEC honors since Chris Bootcheck in 2000. The Springville, Ala., native not only leads the SEC in innings pitched (96.0) and is tied for the league lead in complete games (three) and shutouts (one), but has also registered 30 more strikeouts than any other pitcher in the SEC this season with 133. His strikeout total is good for the third most in the NCAA this season and is the highest by an Auburn pitcher since 1999.
Mize turned in the ninth no-hitter in program history and the team’s first since 2002 versus Northeastern on Mar. 9 and also matched the single-game record with 15 strikeouts against Vanderbilt on May 4. His 15 strikeouts were the most by an Auburn pitcher since 1999 and the most by a SEC pitcher in a conference game since 2012.
After finishing the season 10-for-14 with six runs, four doubles, two home runs and six RBI versus LSU, Holland became the first Auburn shortstop since Casey McElroy in 2011 to pick up all-conference recognition. Holland, who played in all 56 games this season and earned 55 starts at shortstop, leads the team in batting average (.329) and runs scored (51) and is also tied for the team lead in doubles (15). Following his second two-home-run game of the season in the regular season finale, Holland became the fifth member of the team with 10 or more home runs this season, matching the 2009 and 2010 teams for the most in program history. He also ranks second on the team with 45 RBI and is one of five players with 40 or more RBI this season.
Burns, Greenhill, Julien and Williams, who were all members of the highest-rated recruiting class in program history, are the most SEC all-freshman honorees for the Tigers since David Cunningham, Grant Dayton, Brian Fletcher and Hunter Morris earned the recognition in 2008.
Burns is 5-4 with a 3.33 ERA and has been a member of the Auburn starting rotation since opening weekend. The Decatur, Ala., native who was named the 2017 Collegiate Baseball National High School Player of the Year, ranks second on the team with 69 strikeouts, including 46 in conference play. His strikeout total is the highest by an Auburn freshman since Keegan Thompson struck out 73 batters in 2014 and are the second most by a SEC freshman this season.
Despite missing nearly four weeks at the beginning of conference play with an illness, Greenhill led the team with a 2.42 ERA in SEC play and earned a pair of saves in eight conference appearances. A product of Russellville, Ala., he has posted a 3-2 record with a 1.59 ERA while picking up five saves his freshman season. Greenhill didn’t allow an earned run in the first 10.1 innings of his collegiate career and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 10 of his 16 trips to the mound.
Burns combined with Greenhill to pitch all 9.0 innings in a league win in four of the last six SEC series of the regular season, including the first shutout of rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa since 1980. The freshman duo also pitched all but 0.2 innings in a league win versus Vanderbilt during the span.
Arguably the best offensive freshman duo in program history, Julien and Williams have combined for 24 home runs and 100 RBI in their first season on The Plains.
Julien’s 14 home runs and 57 RBI are the most by an Auburn player since 2010. His RBI total not only leads all freshmen nationally, but is also the most by an Auburn freshman since assistant coach Gabe Gross drove in 65 runs in 1999. His 14 home runs are also the third most among freshmen nationally and are the most by an Auburn freshmen since 1998. Julien is tied for the league lead in RBI and ranks seventh in the conference in home runs. His eight home runs during conference play are tied for the fourth most while his 27 RBI are tied for second.
Right on the heels of his freshman roommate, Williams has totaled 10 home runs and 43 RBI this season. His 10 home runs are tied for the fifth most by an Auburn freshman since 1980, and his 43 RBI are the eighth most by a Tiger freshmen during the span. After beginning his Auburn career with a home run in his first collegiate at-bat and totaling seven RBI in his debut, Williams concluded the season ranked in the top four on the team in batting average (.291), runs (42), hits (60), home runs and RBI.
Jarvis earned all-defensive honors after turning in one of the best defensive performances in the middle infield in program history. A senior leader of the 2018 team, Jarvis repeatedly made ground balls back up the middle look routine en route to turning in a .973 fielding percentage. The San Diego native committed only five errors and totaled 66 putouts while ranking second on the team with 115 assists.
Auburn begins postseason play with a matchup against 10th-seeded Kentucky (34-21, 13-17 SEC) Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT in Hoover, Ala. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play second-seeded Ole Miss (42-14, 18-12 SEC) Wednesday at approximately the same time.