The Atlanta Regional will have a taste of Cartersville this week, but it’s not because of Georgia Tech.
While former Canes standout Jake Gooch is set to suit up for the Yellow Jackets next season, the regional’s No. 2 seed, Auburn, currently boasts a pair of ex-Cartersville greats in pitcher Elliott Anderson and utility player Devin Warner.
Following a 1-2 showing in the SEC tournament, which ended in a gut-wrenching loss to LSU, Auburn will look to keep its season alive in the four-team regional, which begins Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium. Third-seeded Coastal Carolina and No. 4 seed Florida A&M round out the participants.
Elsewhere, Reinhardt’s Terry Berdin and Rhodes’ Spencer Fields competed in their respective track and field national championships Thursday.
Berdin, a Cartersville High alum, helped set a school-record in the NAIA 4×100-meter relay prelims, but the Eagles barely missed out on qualifying for the finals. Meanwhile, Fields, a Kingston native, finished 13th in the D-III 10k.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Howard pitched out of the bullpen in a pair of lopsided losses this week. He only managed to record two outs in a 9-2 defeat against Las Vegas last Tuesday. Howard allowed four runs on four hits with two walks. On Sunday, the left-hander gave up one run on the same number of hits and walks with a single strikeout in a 16-8 defeat to Sacramento. In that game, Howard also got one at-bat during which he struck out to move to 0-for-7 at the plate this season.
Connor Justus (Mobile BayBears, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — Justus started all five games of a home series against Biloxi from Wednesday through Sunday. He finished 1-for-3 in each of the first two games but went a combined 0-for-10 over the final three games of the set. Justus managed a walk, an RBI and two runs scored during the week.
Elliott Anderson (Auburn Jr., Cartersville) — Anderson started on the hill in Auburn’s SEC tournament opener against Tennessee last Tuesday in Hoover, Alabama. Pitching in a must-win game to enter the double-elimination portion of the tournament, he made it into the fifth inning before walking the first two batters of the frame. An inherited runner scored on a wild pitch, allowing the Volunteers to tie the game at 2-2. The Tigers rallied for a 5-3 win, as Anderson finished with four-plus innings and a line of two earned runs on three hits, four walks and six strikeouts over 78 pitches. Auburn dropped its next two games in the tournament, but the Tigers still earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Anderson and Co. will head to the Atlanta Regional, hosted by third-overall seed Georgia Tech. Auburn will face No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina in the first round at noon Friday at Russ Chandler Stadium.
Mason Robinson (Louisiana Tech R-Sr., Woodland) — Robinson finished 3-for-7 in the Conference USA tournament, as Louisiana Tech’s season ended with a pair of narrow defeats in Biloxi, Mississippi. He finished 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI in a 6-4 loss to Marshall in 12 innings in the Bulldogs’ tournament opener Tuesday. The following day, Robinson went 1-for-4 with a double. He scored the team’s third run, but it wasn’t enough in a 4-3 loss to Rice. Robinson wrapped up the season with a .287 average. He hit six doubles, two triples and three home runs, while drawing 16 walks. Robinson had 32 runs scored and 24 RBIs in 53 games.
Devin Warner (Auburn Fr., Cartersville) — After striking out in a pinch-hitting appearance in an 11-1 loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Warner earned a start in Thursday’s elimination game in the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama. Facing off against LSU, Warner finished 1-for-3 with a key hit during the seventh inning to help fuel a rally. With Auburn trailing 1-0, Warner singled on an 0-2 pitch to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Although Warner was retired on a subsequent double-play, Auburn came back to take a 2-1 lead in the inning. LSU, though, emerged victorious with one of the wildest walk-offs ever seen, as a wild pitch and throwing error allowed the tying and winning runs to score on the same play in the bottom of the ninth. Auburn will look to put that moment behind it during its double-elimination regional this weekend in Atlanta.
TRACK AND FIELD
Terry Berdin (Reinhardt Fr., Cartersville) — Berdin and his 4×100-meter relay teammates placed ninth in prelims at the NAIA track and field outdoor championships on Thursday in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The finish left them one spot out of the top-eight positions which qualified for the finals. However, the quartet did set a new school record, finishing the relay in 41.35 seconds — more than a half-second off the group’s qualifying time.
Spencer Fields (Rhodes Sr., Kingston native) — Fields wrapped up his storied collegiate career by running the 10k in the NCAA Division III track and field championships in Geneva, Ohio. Running at 7:30 p.m. instead of the originally scheduled morning time, Fields completed the event in 13th with a time of 31 minutes, 26.45 seconds. He ends his time with the Lynx as the school’s record-holder in the 10k, 5k and 3k.