On the biggest stage of college baseball, Edouard Julien had the chance to end the biggest victory of baseball Auburn – perhaps never. A sharp ground ball on the third that he swallowed and put in his right hand without problem and without hesitation.
Now, all it took was a throw to put a hairdresser on his superb three-point product. It seemed appropriate that he get the final act. He had provided the power – to hit the longest home run in the history of this place a few hours earlier.
It was his scene – and he threw it. And with that, he also lost a victory. Two field singles each later, and Auburn lost 5-4 and saw his first lead in the ninth inning collapse quickly and amazingly.
A few minutes later, Julien was on a new stage. This one, lights, microphones and face cameras while he was sitting in front of his locker – was trying to explain something so inexplicable.
"That sucks," said Julien, barely more than a whisper, his voice shaking, "I mean, we lost because I could not throw."
Auburn was away from advancing among the winners. Instead, they will fight for their season against Louisville on Tuesday at 1 pm. The Tigers will now have to win four games in a row to qualify for the championship round.
Head coach Butch Thompson said he planned to spend time alone with Julien to help him through the devastation. Many players have spoken to Julien to try to keep their heads up. Conor Davis was the first to approach him as he stepped out of the field. Steven Williams, sitting in the adjacent locker, patted his back after talking to reporters.
"I'm really expecting him to make the game in third base," Thompson said. "And then the slow roll, I thought that he could have done it too. But we might not be in the same situation if it was not for Edouard Julien's offensive earlier in the game. "
This team seemed to be one of the fate. Jack Owen, the sophomore who has scored a run of 6.12 in his last five starts, has beaten Ethan Small, the MSU's duel and one of the country's top pitchers. Julien, who had been pinched for the end of the regular season, concocted a home race on the night of Omaha.
Richard Fitts, a seldom effective lifter in the regular season, made two perfect runs. Then, Tanner Burns, who had never left the enclosure, is about to get the rescue.
"He does not need to keep his head down," Burns said of Julien. "If anyone, it must be me. I had to come take the last three outs and only have two. I did not have the last one. "
Burns blames himself for not having made the last stroke of the match. He came back to him and glanced at his glove and became a resounding success for Marshall Gilbert. Mississippi State has now won 28 games this season, more than any other Division I team.
Thompson and the coaching staff were then invited to speak to the team – giving a message of hope that the season was not over. University baseball is unique in this sense. The most devastating loss in the post-season, could not even finish the season.
Heck, even this Auburn team ended its SEC tournament on a foul / mistake that allowed two LSU riders to score. All this regular season has been full of lows. The NCAA tournament lasted three weeks.
But after such a loss, this prospect was hard to come by, sometimes. It may come later tonight, or tomorrow on the training ground, but it was a muffler and sullen cloakroom you'll find. When asked what the coaches said after the match, Owen, who pitched five ball heats, was not sure.
"There was a lot of hail," he said, referring to the tumultuous celebration of the opposition, "so that I can not really hear it"
Auburn seemed to want to prevent that. He escaped a two traffic jam on a sixth outing. He escaped a traffic jam of two wireless in the seventh. He also escaped the riders during the first heats.
And after giving two points to the ninth, it seemed like they would escape another game. All it took was a throw. A throw that has sailed high and wide, and with it, maybe a chance for Auburn to compete for a national championship.
"I love the way we play," Thompson said. We play our best baseball of the year and we did it tonight for eight and two thirds. "