TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn and Alabama will meet on the diamond Thursday evening in a mid-season SEC matchup that is crucial to both programs.
“I’d say it’s a huge weekend for us and not because of the rivalry per se but because it’s the next SEC weekend,” said Alabama manager Brad Bohannon. “With what we did last weekend [against Texas A&M], we’ve put ourselves in a position where if we finish the back half of league play strong, we’re gonna be in the postseason.”
“We’re in a stretch here of nine games in two weeks,” said Auburn head coach Butch Thompson. “Hopefully, we can start playing with some momentum a little bit better, and the outcome will be in our favor a little more often to have two good weeks.”
Both teams took a break from conference play for mid-week meetings. The Crimson Tide (20-12, 5-7) is coming off an explosive offensive performance against Samford; Alabama beat the Bulldogs 19-3 on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, Auburn (13-16, 1-11) handed No. 20 Georgia Tech a 7-3 loss at Russ Chandler Stadium on the same night.
It’s no secret the rivalry meeting is always one of the biggest of the season, and while both programs are excited for the matchup, both also know it’s bigger than the rivalry.
“You only play 30 league games, and you gotta find a way to win 15 of them because the ultimate goal is to be in the NCAA tournament,” said Bohannon.
“You know, a rivalry is short-term, but the long-term because of what has happened in the last month, we need this, so it’s kind of two-fold,” added Thompson. “But, there’s no lack of motivation; this just takes it to a higher level of needing it now because it’s your rival, but because of the last month, it’s a requirement.”
The first pitch of the three-game set is set for 6 p.m. at Thomas-Sewell Stadium Thursday evening. Alabama leads the all-time series 55-47. However, Auburn owns the last meeting, with a 17-7 win back in May 2019.