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Auburn set for CWS opener against Ole Miss

Caleb Turrentine, Johnny Congdon
3-4 minutes

The 2022 Men's College World Series is underway in Omaha with two first round games being played Friday at Charles Schwab Field. The Auburn baseball team is waiting patiently for its chance to hit the field as the Tigers got one more practice in before their first round meeting with fellow SEC team Ole Miss.

This is Auburn's sixth trip to Omaha for the Men's College World Series. The Tigers have made it into the semifinals just once, back in 1967. This marks the program's first trip since 2019 when Auburn went 0-2, being eliminated by Louisville.

"This is our sixth trip to Omaha, and our university is ecstatic," Auburn coach Butch Thompson said. "We were here in 2019. We do have a few of those players that returned. And those are probably some of our best leaders. We've added some pieces along the way to get back here, two of the last three tournaments. Couldn't be happier."

Auburn is hoping this trip to midwest brings some more success than the one in 2019 did. The Tigers are one of just four nationally seeded teams remaining in the tournament and have their sights set on a higher finish than just one or two wins.

SEE ALSO: Updated schedule, results from 2022 Men's College World Series
SEE ALSO: Auburn beats Oregon State 4-3; Headed to College World Series

"The motto back in 2019 was let's make it to Omaha," Auburn pitcher Carson Skipper said. "And this year it's, go out and let's win a national championship. Just making it here is not good enough for us. We'll go out and do everything we can to prove it and prove ourselves."

Auburn was at a nearby high school Friday afternoon to take some infield and batting practice as the team prepares to play Ole Miss for the fourth time this season. Auburn took one game of a three-game series against then-No. 1 Ole Miss in March. The Tigers won the second game 19-5 but Ole Miss took the series with a 13-6 win and a 15-2 win.

Since that series, Auburn has a 28-14 record. Saturday's game is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch.

"I think we've just kind of grown, like growing into our team identity," Auburn's Sonny Dichiara said. "And I mean those first couple of weeks you're playing other people when you hit the SEC in conference play, you kind of hit the ground running, you have to figure out who you are real quick. From that weekend on we just figured out who we were going to be and what we were going to do."

Auburn will turn to Joseph Gonzalez on the mound. He has posted a 2.95 ERA across 73 innings over 14 appearances and he leads the team with seven wins.

"He's pitched for us a lot this year he was out the first portion of the year," Thompson said. "I know he did not pitch against Ole Miss the first time around. But he's kind of been throwing in the 3 hole for us or third slot there. And as we worked through, we got him to the 2 slot. And we eventually got to the 1 slot because he missed some time early in the year. Arguably, at the end of the day, he's probably our best starter."

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