HOOVER - For senior Auburn pitcher Jon Luke Jacobs, last Thursday was an unexpected and unwelcome disappointment.
Jon Luke Jacobs will get the start for Auburn against Florida
A week after a dominating performance a week earlier in a crucial victory at Arkansas, Jacobs lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his final Plainsman Park appearance and the Tigers lost 6-0 to No. 2 Florida.
"It wasn't what I expected or, obviously, what I wanted," Jacobs said.
But the opportunity for redemption is at hand. The Tigers (30-26), the No. 10 seed, play the Gators (40-16), the No. 3 seed, in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament today at Regions Park in Hoover. Gametime is set for 4:30 p.m.
"I feel good about going back out there," Jacobs said. "I was only out there for a couple of innings, so they haven't really seen a full start from me. It comes down to me going out there and executing my gameplan, put the ball in pay and let the defense work."
After being outscored 16-1 in the first two games of the series, Auburn bounced back to win 5-4 last Saturday, costing the Gators a share of the regular-season SEC championship.
Auburn needs to win at least two games, perhaps more, to have a realistic chance at earning an NCAA regional bid.
"The biggest thing for me," Jacobs said, "is I just want to give our guys a chance to win."
Creede Simpson scored what proved to be the winning run from second base on an infield single in the seventh inning. After moving from second base to right field to replace injured Jay Gonzalez, he threw out the potential tying run at home to end the game.
Simpson says he and his teammates believe they can do what it takes to play on beyond the SEC Tournament.
"We need to win some games," Simpson said. "We think we can hang with anybody and are just cocky and arrogant enough to think we can beat anybody. Hopefully, we can go up there and shock some people and get into a regional. We are ready to play, fired up."