Auburn fans can shout it out, from cool Quebec City and all the way across to the coast in California:
Two more Tigers are coming back.
Third baseman Edouard Julien and pitcher Jack Owen both announced Monday that they’ll be returning to the Auburn baseball team next season, forgoing their opportunities in the pro ranks for one more season on the Plains, and bringing that much more experience to a 2020 team bent on taking Auburn back to the College World Series.
Julien, the fiery French-speaker from Quebec City, Canada, was Auburn’s RBI leader this season, and his return means the Tigers will have seven of eight position starters coming back next season. Owen, a locker room jokester from Aliso Viejo, Calif., started on the mound as a regular in Auburn’s rotation when healthy, and could throw even better next year at full strength.
They’re the two out of five Auburn players selected in the MLB Draft this year who decided to return.
“Je vais être de retour,” Julien posted to Twitter on Monday. It means: “I will be back.”
Julien has led Auburn baseball in home runs and in RBI’s in each of the last two seasons. He played designated hitter his first year before working to carve out a spot at third base this season. His return writes his opportunity at redemption after a gut-wrenching two-out throwing error in the bottom of the ninth against Mississippi State in Omaha.
Owen posted a team-best 2.75 ERA this past season in 14 appearances and 10 starts. Owen missed more than a month of SEC play this past season fighting tendinitis in his shoulder, but returned to become Auburn’s opening starter in the postseason.
Julien was picked in the 18th round of the draft by the Minnesota Twins, before Owen was selected 21st round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
Both players are sophomores and will be juniors next year under head coach Butch Thompson.
“Playing pro baseball is a dream of mine, and I can’t thank the St. Louis Cardinals enough for giving me that opportunity,” Owen said in a statement Monday. “However, I’m excited to return to Auburn for my junior season and can’t wait to get back to work with Coach Thompson and the boys.”
Auburn earned the program its fifth-ever trip to the College World Series, and first in 22 years. Next season, with so many pieces back in place, the Tigers will try to take Auburn to Omaha in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever.
“It was an honor to hear my name called by the Minnesota Twins, and I want to thank them for the opportunity,” Julien said. “However, my teammates and I still have some work to do at Auburn. Coach Thompson talks about leaving a legacy, and our story isn’t over yet.”
Shortstop Will Holland was Auburn’s first player taken off the board in the draft, by the Twins in the fifth round. He’ll be off to join the professional ranks, along with pitcher Davis Daniel, who missed most of this season due to injury but was picked in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Angels. Relief pitcher Elliott Anderson was picked in the 23rd round by the Kansas City Royals and decided to sign.