AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - The Auburn baseball team will make its 20th postseason appearance this week as the Tigers were selected as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tallahassee Regional, which begins Friday in Tallahassee, Fla.
Auburn (35-24) will face Central Florida (40-20) in the opening game of the regional at 11 a.m. CT Friday at Dick Howser Stadium. The contest will air nationally on ESPN2. Host Florida State (39-20) and Tennessee Tech (40-19) will play the other game Friday, beginning at 5 p.m. CT.
"From my 15 years in the Southeastern Conference, I believe this is one of the toughest fields to make that I can remember," Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. "There's no doubt that making this field is special, knowing since August 16 how hard our guys have worked and prepared all season, just like every other ball club. They get an opportunity to go end their season on a baseball field instead of a meeting room.
"This is a game of inches, and it always comes down to one or two games in the Southeastern Conference. That's why it's the toughest conference in America. That's why this caliber of tournament creates (situations) where you have to battle through adversity. We've definitely had our share, which, in a positive connotation, I think makes us more prepared and ready to go.
"This program has been to Tallahassee a few times before, several times. This will be a new experience for me as a head coach. I've been there as an assistant in a regional, and they do a great job. Florida State knows how to hold a regional, how to take care of people and respect fan bases that come in there. This will be a great opportunity for us this week."
Thompson is making his first regional appearance as a head coach. He has helped take teams to 15 previous postseason appearances as an assistant coach, including seven trips to the College World Series.
Of Auburn's 20 postseason trips, this will be the ninth to Tallahassee. The Tigers have played in seven previous regionals and one super regional at Dick Howser Stadium, most recently in 2015.
Auburn is 4-1 all-time against Central Florida and will be playing the Knights for the first time since 1998. The Tigers own a 44-73 record against Florida State; the teams last met in 2009. Auburn has never faced Tennessee Tech.
The Tigers' last postseason appearance came in 2015, also in Tallahassee.