Conor Davis pressed play, and heard that familiar call again.
He’ll hear it the rest of his life.
“Swing — driven — deep left field — and the Tigers have won the ballgame!” Rod Bramblett’s triumphant voice roars out on the tape.
“It’s a walk-off winner for the freshman Conor Davis!”
Davis is older now. He’s closing his junior season, two years removed from that three-run walk-off homer against South Carolina in 2017. But that big swing will always be one of the highlights of his collegiate career — and Bramblett’s voice will always be the one that captured it best.
This weekend Auburn is going to the NCAA Tournament in Atlanta without Bramblett on the call for the first time in 27 years.
Bramblett, proudly called the Voice of the Auburn Tigers by the university, died on Saturday night. He had been the school’s lead broadcaster for football and men’s basketball since 2003 — and for baseball even longer, since 1993.
His death weighed heavy over the Auburn baseball team’s get-together on Monday, where the Tigers watched the NCAA Tournament selection show and found out their postseason destination.
“It’s a terrible loss for the Auburn community,” Davis said somberly.
Bramblett and his wife, Paula, died suddenly after a car wreck Saturday.
“You know, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Auburn head coach Butch Thompson said just after seeing his team’s name entered into the NCAA Tournament, “because we’re going through a lot, our Auburn family, right now with a lot that’s happened in our community and our friends and our loved ones. They’ve been part of this journey and they’re not here with us today.
“The last 27 years, Rod has been telling the story of Auburn baseball,” he went on. “Him and his wife are great examples of how to love Auburn, how to be a husband, how to lead a family — a pretty good example for everybody to play off of. To have that missing anytime, but especially now because of a tragedy, an accident or something like that out of thin air, it puts baseball in perspective and makes you realize that things are bigger than ball, so to speak.”
Davis was one of the many Auburn players to have a strong relationship with Bramblett, just like Thompson.
“I had a personal relationship with him after the freshman year, the walk-off after South Carolina,” Davis said, going back to that home run. He said he listened to the call again this weekend after Bramblett’s death, on a compilation put out by the baseball program on its social media pages.
“We talked for a while after that. And we had talked just through all the interviews and stuff like that,” Davis said.
“The loss of Rod is — I don’t even have words for it,” he said. “It’s terrible.
Bramblett and his colleague Andy Burcham celebrated 25 years of calling Auburn baseball during the regular season this year.
“We’re playing for Auburn and we’re playing for him and his family,” Tigers pitcher Tanner Burns said. “That gives us some motivation going into Atlanta.”
Auburn opens its play in Georgia Tech’s host regional on Friday against Coastal Carolina.
“Those heavy hearts won’t go away, but I know what Rod and Paula Bramblett would want, and that’s to love on our children, take care of them, and we have to stay and adapt to that,” Thompson said.
“And No. 2, he would want us to go represent Auburn the best way we possibly can moving forward.”