Will Morrison

Former Cullman standout and Auburn freshman Will Morrison.

Will Morrison won't soon forget his freshman campaign at Auburn.

The former Cullman pitching standout, who began his collegiate career with the Tigers in February, punctuated a memorable spring this past week with a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Making its first CWS appearance since 1997, Auburn dropped a heartbreaker to No. 6 Mississippi State before being eliminated Wednesday by No. 7 Louisville.

Despite the early exit, Morrison relished the trip with his teammates and coaches.

"It's every college baseball player's dream," he said. "Once you get to Omaha, it's breathtaking. It's something that I wish everyone could experience."

Morrison made 24 appearances for the Tigers this season, compiling a 4.56 ERA in 25 2/3 innings pitched. 

He surrendered 24 hits, struck out 15 and walked 11.

A year ago, Morrison was putting the finishing touches on a wonderful senior season with the Bearcats.

The Class 6A Pitcher of the Year had a 0.64 ERA, a 0.61 WHIP and 101 strikeouts in 77 innings pitched.

The accolades were plentiful — as have been the myriad adjustments to facing college hitters.

"In high school, you're told it's the same game, and that's true, but there are some big differences," Morrison said. "You can't let the moment get too big. My first couple of appearances, I didn't trust myself as much as I should have. That alone can separate you from being average to being elite. Once I realized I belonged in the SEC, it became about making pitches and getting people out."

Morrison went through several highs and lows with Auburn this past season.

The Tigers opened with a 20-2 record before losing 21 of their next 33 games.

After a tough SEC Tournament, Auburn responded by winning the Atlanta Regional — downing No. 3 Georgia Tech twice — before taking out No. 14 North Carolina in the Super Regionals to punch its first ticket to the College World Series in 22 years.

Morrison and Co. accomplished all of that with heavy hearts following the tragic deaths of longtime announcer Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula, in a car accident.

"We knew the season was going to have ups and downs," he said. "We had to fight. We struggled, at times, to find our identity as a team. After Rod's passing, as bad as it was for us and the community, it really pulled us together. It was about more than baseball. We were playing for him, and that helped us make the run we did."

As for what lies ahead for Morrison, it's rather simple — keep growing, keep improving, keep working.

The results will take care of themselves.

"The first year was big," he said. "I was blessed to get some playing time as a freshman. It was good experience to get a feel for the talent of the SEC. I'm going to work on and develop my pitching skills and try to fine-tune everything. I'm looking to come back and learn as much as I can and build on what I did."

% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.​

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