Coach Myers Delivers NCAA Bid As Promised

Auburn coach Clint Myers talks about his Tigers as they prepare to travel to Minneapolis for the NCAA Women's Softball Tournament.

uburn, Ala.--Coach Clint Myers said when he took over as Auburn's new head softball coach to expect the Tigers to play in the NCAA tournament in his first year on the Plains.

That became a reality when the Tigers found out they are headed to Minneapolis to compete in the University of Minnesota Regional that begins on Friday.

Auburn, 39-17-1, will open the four-team, double-elimination event vs. 35-16 North Dakota State while 41-9 Minnesota will take on 27-12 Green Bay.

The Tigers and Bison, champions of the Summit League, will square off at 2 p.m. CDT on Friday. Auburn defeated North Dakota State 11-3 in a regular season game on Feb. 7th at AU's Jane B. Moore Field.

Minnesota is the No. 16 national seed after winning its first-ever Big Ten Tournament title.

"It is probably going to be a little cold, but it is nothing we haven't done before," said Auburn's leadoff hitter, Emily Carsone. "We are ready to win and go to the Super Regionals."

Myers, who is known for preferring warm weather, joked he is ready to take his team to Minnesota this week. "I can handle anything they want to throw now," he said with a smile. "I have learned how to layer."

Asked what he thought about his team's draw, the veteran coach who moved from Arizona State to Auburn said, "Postseason is about playing the best teams. Would I have rather been somewhere other than at the 16th seed, yeah, because that matches up with the No. 1 team in the country. The nice thing of it is we played Oregon early in the year.""

The Tigers lost 3-0 to Oregon on Feb. 28th in the Diamond 9 Tournament played in Kissimmee, Fla.. and just missed a game-tying home run in the seventh inning.

"The region we are going to with Minnesota, North Dakota State and Green Bay, I don't know anything about Green Bay, but I know the other two are good programs," Myers said. "We have to go out and play good softball if we want to have the opportunity to go play Oregon in Eugene."

The Tigers watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show during their team banquet at Auburn Arena.

The strength of Auburn's team has been its fielding and hitting. The Tigers are ranked high nationally in most offensive categories and No. 2 in fielding percentage. The pitching, however, has been up and down against the stronger opponents on the schedule.

Clint Myers watches the selection show.

Asked if getting good pitching is the key to success in the NCAA Regional, Myers said, "For us it is going to have to be about the whole game because we are going to give up some runs, but we are going to score some runs, too. That is the key thing.

"We have to play Auburn softball if we are going to have any chance," he added. "We are playing against some very talented, very athletic teams so when you are doing that it is the team that doesn't beat itself that has the best chance to win.

"We are going to attack the (strike) zone like we have been talking about all year, we have to have quality (pitching) in the circle and we have to have timely hitting," Myers said. "We have to take care of business because I know that North Dakota State and Minnesota both have two talented pitchers."

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