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THURSDAY, MAY 10, 2007
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Auburn's AD voices support for baseball coach
Slater's Tigers sit in last
place in SEC standings

AUBURN (AP) — Auburn baseball coach Tom Slater expects his team to have a successful season next year, and indications from his boss are that he'll be around to enjoy it.

The Tigers (28-22, 7-17 Southeastern Conference) have the SEC's worst league mark and are almost certain to miss the eight-team tournament for the fourth straight year.

Athletics director Jay Jacobs indicated he was willing to be patient with Slater, who was hired in 2004.

"Tom Slater has a plan in place to return the Auburn baseball program to national prominence," said Jacobs, adding that he hasn't met with Slater since before the season. "I believe in Tom and his plan for the baseball program, and I'm behind him 100 percent."

The Tigers have a three-game series against top-ranked Vanderbilt this weekend before closing the regular season at Kentucky.

They haven't been mathematically eliminated from the league tournament but face daunting odds.

Auburn, which has lost six of its last seven SEC games, starts five freshmen and has been plagued by injuries to key players and shaky pitching.

The young talent gives Slater cause for optimism for next season.

"I believe we have good players here and I believe we have more good players coming," he said. "I don't have any less confidence in where we are headed. Did I think this team would be right there in the middle of it fighting? Yes, I did. Are we there? No, we're not.

"Do I have any doubt that next year this team can be really good? No, I don't. I don't have any doubts at all."

Slater led Auburn to an NCAA regional trip in his first season despite failing to make the SEC tournament.

SEC baseball standings

Eastern Division

Team SEC Overall

Vanderbilt 17-7 41-9

So. Carolina 13-11 35-14

Florida 12-12 25-25

Tennessee 10-12 28-20

Kentucky 10-13-1 31-15-1

Georgia 8-16 19-30

WesternDivision

Arkansas 16-8 36-14

Miss. State 13-9 31-13

Ole Miss 13-11 32-18

LSU 11-12-1 28-21-1

Alabama 11-13 27-22

Auburn 7-17 28-22

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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