Attention to Small Details Has Big Impact

Auburn's nationally-ranked softball squad is having a turnaround season under new management as the Tigers have become a more fundamentally sound team.

Auburn, Ala.--When Clint Myers took over as head coach of the Auburn women's softball team for the 2014 season he immediately emphasized teaching the fundamentals of the game, something that has continued throughout the season.

The results are showing on the field week after week. The Tigers head into the final weekend of the SEC regular season ranked as high as 16th nationally with a .983 field percentage, which is the best in major college softball.

Auburn's steady play on defense is a big reason the team has a 37-14-1 record and has already clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament heading into this weekend's three-game series at South Carolina.

"The ability to minimize your opposition's chances is important," Myers said. "Those are the things that we did not do when we were losing those one-run games.

"It is tough enough to win when teams have 21 outs (in seven innings)," Myers pointed out. "When you start giving teams 23, 24 or 25 outs those are things that come back and bite you in your rear every time. We talk about that on a daily basis."

Defensively, the Tigers are among the national leaders in double plays and lead the SEC with 27, seven more than any other team in the conference this season.

"Minimizing the other team's opportunities, and double plays take an opportunity away, is big time," he added. "It is also a huge momentum builder for the offense. We just have to continue to go out and keep the opponents to 21 outs."

The Tigers will take on South Carolina at 6 p.m. CDT on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. The Gamecocks are 33-18 overall with a 9-12 SEC record. The Tigers are 10-11 in league games.

Auburn heads into the games after sweeping Texas A&M this past weekend. "We are getting great pitching, we are getting timely hitting and our defense has been really good,"?Myers said. "For us to be successful those three points have got to continue to grow and improve, and stay consistent."

Third baseman Kasey Cooper, the SEC Freshman of the Week, said Auburn's lack of errors is no accident. "It is because of what we do on the practice field," she said. "Every day in practice we work our hardest on the little things. If we can do the little things right, we can will.

The team will remain in Columbia after this weekend's series where they will prepare for the SEC Tournament that begins at South Carolina's home field on Wednesday.


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