The No. 10 Auburn University of Montgomery baseball team will begin NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round Tournament play on Thursday, when it hosts No. 22 Union University at 2:30 p.m., at the AUM Baseball Complex.
The Senators, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, finished the regular season with a 40-17 record. AUM will be making its second trip to the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round tournament, 2009 was the other, and will be playing for its fourth trip in the programs history to the Avista-NAIA World Series. The Senators advanced to the World Series in 1990, 1992 and 2006, finishing a National Tournament Runner Up in the 1990 campaign.
Junior Hunter Cross paced the AUM offense this season, posting a .379 batting average, while leading the team with 18 doubles and 42 runs batted in. Senior Sam Judah led the team with three home runs, adding 31 RBIs. The Senators will be without junior Rusty Todd, who led the team in hitting during the regular season at a mark of .391, after he suffered a foot injury.
On the mound, senior Kyle Mitchell earned All-Southern States Athletic Conference honors after posting an 8-2 record with a 2.18 earned run average. Junior Wes Cook matched Mitchell with a team-high eight wins, while fellow junior Cody Hall added seven victories on the mound and struck out a team-best 80 in 82.0 innings. Judah provided a strong presence at the end of the game, tallying 11 saves in 15 appearances.
The No. 3 seeded Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 38-15 overall record and won the TranSouth Athletic Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs will be making their third appearance in the Opening Round Tournament, and have posted a 2-4 record in their previous two appearances.
The Bulldogs are led by Oscar Depablos with a .366 batting average, while Bryan Hill hit a team-high six home runs. As a team, Union posted a batting average of .296 and successfully stole 74 bases.
Jeremey Fesmire and Jared Davis each tallied nine victories and sub-2.50 earned run averages on the mound. The duo combined for 12 complete games and seven shutouts on the season.
For complete results from all games from the tournament, visit http://www.aumathletics.com/f/2011_NAIA_Baseball_Opening_Round_Tournament.php.