AUBURN — Bryson Ware has been one of Auburn's top weapons at the plate this season, and now he is receiving some recognition for it. USA Baseball announced on Wednesday that Ware had been named to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watchlist. The watchlist includes 45 of the nation's best college and high school baseball players, and Ware is the sixth Tiger to be named to the list since 2016.

One of those names is heavy hitter Sonny DiChiara from the 2022 campaign. While Ware has not completely replicated DiChiara's numbers from last season, he has been Aubunr's best slugger this season, leading the team in home runs(14), RBIs(38), runs(31) and slugging percentage(.864).

Ware has registered a hit in 27 of 29 games this season, and he is in the top six nationally in home runs, slugging percentage and total bases (95).

The semifinalists for the award will be announced on May 22.

Meanwhile, back on the Plains as Auburn(18-10-1, 3-6) prepares for Texas A&M(18-11, 3-6 SEC), the Tigers are honoring a program legend and National Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, with the unveiling of a statue dedicated to the "Big Hurt" set for 10 a.m. CST on Saturday before A-Day festivities and the scheduled finale with Texas A&M.

"This has been about a five-year odyssey to get this to this point for this Saturday," Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said. "There's nothing better to tell the history of our program and story than having that statue out front. It is an unbelievable addition to Plainsman Park. I hope it's celebrated by not only Auburn but by our entire conference. To honor somebody who had that type of significance on the game of baseball, and he's one of ours, it's a big deal."

Thomas is the only baseball player from the SEC to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

With the celebration before the game, head coach Butch Thompson remains focused on getting back on track after three straight losses. The Tiger's pitching staff has been struggling over the past few weeks, with Tuesday's loss to UAB after two bases-loaded walks gave the Blazers an early lead.

Auburn is turning to Will Cannon(2-0) and Tommy Vail(2-1) for the Thursday and Saturday contests, while Friday's pitcher is still TBA. Cannon leads the team in ERA(2.28), and Auburn will be looking for a solid start to the series, being the sophomore on the mound.

"You just keep getting right back into the frame. That's what I expect from our guys is to keep battling," Thompson said. "We are at a very important part of our schedule, just like our whole league is every year. We're at that portion of our schedule where we have to keep fighting."

That very important part of the schedule is conference play, and it has not been easy for the Tigers. In SEC play, Auburn is batting just .240 while opponents are hitting .320 at the plate. Auburn's team ERA has been 8.53 since the SEC slate started.

"It's hard to build an above-average SEC pitcher. I know our programs done it and done a great job of it," said Thompson of his pitching staff. "When you get either injuries, or you get guys that are not quite ready yet, this is what you lock into."

Auburn is still missing the presence of Joseph Gonzalez, who remains out with a shoulder injury and could miss up to five more weeks.

Auburn's Easter weekend series begins from Plainsman Park on Thursday at 7 p.m. CST, with the game scheduled to be broadcast on the SEC Network. The Friday and Saturday games will be on SEC Network+.

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