AUBURN – Less than two weeks into the season and already new Auburn baseball coach Sunny Golloway is making dramatic changes to his team. The first-year Tigers coach announced three roster moves on Monday – the dismissal of senior outfield Hunter Kelley and the departures of senior first baseman Patrick Savage and junior pitcher Chase Williamson.
“This has not been smooth,” Golloway said in a statement on the Auburn website. “It’s been very, very bumpy. It’s been bumpy because of the demands put on the program by me. I’ll take full responsibility. That’s why we’ve minimized our roster and why we will continue to minimize our roster until our attitude and effort are there. If the attitude and effort aren’t there, you aren’t going to be here.”
The Tigers (3-4) opened the season taking two of three at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. but lost to Alabama State in an embarrassing 9-3 home opener. Auburn dropped two of three in its own hosted Tiger Classic, including a 3-2 10-inning loss to East Tennessee State on Sunday.
After falling below .500, Golloway shook up the roster.
“Players have to understand that we are just a part of something that is much greater than we are individually,” Golloway said in the statement. “We are going to play for what is on the front of our jerseys and not on the back. Be proud of your name, but play for Auburn. Play the way we ask you to play.
“We were brought here to try to turn the program around and play the game the right way. That comes back to team chemistry, caring about one another and not making it about yourself.”
Though his team was picked to finish last in the SEC West and received the fewest total votes in the preseason coaches’ poll, Golloway has repeatedly stated his belief Auburn will make it to the College World Series.
“We are going to Omaha this year,” Golloway said. “There is no doubt in my mind. It’s amazing how things are happening that need to happen. These things need to happen right now. This is the attention I have to get from this team. If we’d won all those games and then had dismissals, it would have been a head-scratching deal, wouldn’t it?”