RALEIGH, N.C. (AL.com)Mixed among the mob of jubilant, jumping Auburn players huddled around the infield grass at Doak Field was a heavy sense of relief.
After coming within a strike of its first Super Regional appearance since 1999 last season in Tallahassee, Fla. — but ultimately falling short in back-to-back games against FSU — Auburn made that berth a reality on Sunday night in Raleigh, N.C., dispatching top-seeded NC State to complete a perfect run through the Raleigh Regional.
There were 17 members of this Auburn team who experienced that letdown in Tallahassee last season, that disappointment and “heartbreak,” as senior Josh Anthony put it this weekend, festering inside them throughout the offseason. The finish was “burned in everybody’s brain,” according to senior second baseman Luke Jarvis, and it flamed the Tigers’ motivation all season long, serving as a rallying cry of sorts for the program: Every pitch counts.
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