A pair of former left-handed pitchers from Cartersville High produced solid results for their respective teams this past week.
At the collegiate level, Elliott Anderson earned a win in the Atlanta Regional on Friday to propel Auburn into the Super Regionals for the second consecutive year. A few notches up the rung in Triple-A, Sam Howard had arguably his best week of the season, thus far, working three scoreless outings in the span of six days.
Both former Canes will look to build upon the success this coming week.
Auburn will head to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina with a trip to Omaha and the College World Series on the line. Howard and his Albuquerque teammates will hope to turn things around during an upcoming road swing, which ironically includes a three-game set in Omaha.
Sam Howard (Albuquerque Isotopes, Colorado Rockies organization; Cartersville) — Howard made three scoreless appearances out of the bullpen this past week. His first showing was an abbreviated one last Monday, as he faced just two batters in the top of the ninth inning of a 12-5 loss. The first hitter reached before he retired the subsequent batter. Howard threw a clean eighth inning — with a pair of strikeouts — in a 7-5 win over Reno on Thursday. He came back two days later to toss 1 2/3 innings of relief, again against Reno. He gave up one hit and issued a walk but countered with two strikeouts to keep the Aces at bay in an 11-6 defeat.
Connor Justus (Mobile BayBears, L.A. Angels organization; Cartersville) — Justus saw his hitless streak continue through the duration of last week. The versatile defender hasn't had a hit since May 24. In nine games since then, Justus is 0-for-30 with three walks, two runs scored and two steals. His week started out well enough. Tuesday, he went 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The following day, Justus finished 0-for-3 but drew a walk to lead off the ninth. He came around to score on a two-run, go-ahead homer in a 2-1 win over Jacksonville.
Elliott Anderson (Auburn Jr., Cartersville) — Anderson earned the win on the mound in the Atlanta Regional opener Friday afternoon, helping Auburn get its perfect weekend off on the right foot in a 16-7 win over Coastal Carolina. The left-hander entered a 2-2 game in the fifth inning. Anderson hit the first batter he faced, but he proceeded to retire eight of the next nine batters. In the meantime, the Tigers built a 9-2 lead. That's why it didn't hurt nearly as much when Anderson gave up consecutive walks and a three-run homer with one out in the seventh inning. The junior departed at that point, but Auburn maintained the lead to allow Anderson to improve his record 6-2 on the season.
Devin Warner (Auburn Fr., Cartersville) — Warner didn't see any action in the Atlanta Regional, as Auburn went 3-0 with a win over Coastal Carolina and a pair of victories over host Georgia Tech — the No. 3 national seed. Friday's win over the Chanticleers involved plenty of offensive fireworks in a 16-7 triumph. Saturday's matchup with the Yellow Jackets involved late drama. The Tigers scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a three-run walk-off homer on an 0-2 pitch to reach the regional championship. Auburn held Georgia Tech to just three hits in a 4-1 win to move on to the Super Regionals for the second straight season. The Tigers will face 14th-seeded North Carolina in Chapel Hill this coming weekend in a best-of-three set for a spot in the College World Series.