Auburn sophomore Casey Mize has had arguably the most impressive season of any pitcher in the SEC this year. He is 6-1 with a 1.23 ERA and leads the conference with 82 strikeouts. On Friday, however, Mize was earned one of the most prestigious honors of his collegiate career.
Mize accepted an invitation to join the 2017 USA Baseball Collegiate National team this summer.
“This means a lot,” Mize said. “This has been a goal of mine for some time now. I’m really ready to go learn from and compete with these guys. This is the top players and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to represent the United States. This is truly an honor.”
The Springville, Alabama native became the first Auburn pitcher to record back-to-back games with 12 or more strikeouts since 1999. His SEC-leading 82 strikeouts are good for third in the country. His 1.23 ERA ranks third in the SEC and 18th nationally.
“I think every coach and player affiliated with Auburn baseball is excited for this opportunity for Casey to represent our country,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. “I think Casey will be the first to tell you that several of his coaches and especially his teammates are a huge part of this. I think we are all thankful to be a part of Auburn University and the opportunities it presents us now and for the rest of our lives.”
Mize is the eighth player in Auburn history to be selected for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. Anfernee Grier, who was selected in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, represented the United States in 2015. The other Auburn representatives included Gregg Olson (1987), Mark Bellhorn (1993-94), John Powell (1993), Steven Register (2003) and Hunter Morris (2008).
The 2017 Collegiate National Team will train USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina, and compete in a series of games with teams from the Coastal Plains League from June 20-25. The U.S. will then host international friendship series against Chinese Taipei and Cuba from June 27 – July 7, in Cary, Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina.
The co-SEC West-leading Auburn Tigers (26-10, 9-4) will continue its series at Tennessee (17-14, 3-10) Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Keegan Thompson will be on the mound for Auburn Friday night as the Tigers look to take the series in Knoxville.