Fagan Making Early Impact For Softball Tigers

Transfer Haley Fagan had a big first week as an Auburn Tiger after sitting out last season.

Auburn, Ala.--Transferring from South Alabama where she was Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2013 after hitting .352 with 11 home runs and 51 RBI, infielder Haley Fagan was forced to sit out last season as the Auburn Tigers advanced to the NCAA Tournament in Coach Clint Myers’ first year on the Plains.

The daughter of former NFL standout defensive lineman Kevin Fagan, she had to sit and watch as the Tigers smashed school records for home runs on the way to the postseason. Last week Auburn opened the 2015 season and Fagan could finally be part of action on game days instead of just watching.

She didn’t waste any time making an impact.

Helping the Tigers to a 6-0 start as they outscored the opposition 67-8, Fagan had a huge first week for Auburn as she hit .538 with three home runs and 12 RBI. Included in that was a walk-off grand slam in the final game on Sunday to give the Tigers a 12-1 win over Chattanooga. It was the perfect ending to almost a perfect week for Myers’ team and Fagan said it was everything she hoped it would be.

“It’s really fun,” Fagan said. “I think coming off last year we know how good we’re going to be and a lot of people know how good we’re going to be, but I think we really made a statement over the weekend by looking at everybody else’s scores. Our coaching staff is just the best in the nation and we have so much confidence going up to the plate and in the field. We are ready.”

There is no question that Fagan was ready and her coach knew that all along. Watching as she worked last season to get prepared for her opportunity this spring, Myers said having someone with her versatility to play several different positions is big when combined with her competitive nature and talent.

"We said all along that Haley is going to be a very good offensive force for us,” Myers said. “She is a competitor. I don't know of anything Haley likes to do more than play. When she goes up there she has a good time. You see her in the dugout she is dancing. It is one of those things where she hates to lose. She is in every ball game. Where she is going to play will be a day-to-day experience, but she did awfully good tonight at shortstop."

Part of a lineup that is hitting .434 with nine home runs and 59 RBI in just six games, Fagan said for her it’s a blast every day to be surrounded by so many quality hitters. With Emily Carosone batting .643 in the two-hole with Kasey Cooper and Tiffany Howard both over .500 as well, Fagan said doing her part is easy because of who else is hitting for the Tigers.

“It takes so much pressure off,” she pointed out. “We’ve got an awesome leadoff (Howard). Then you’ve got Kasey Cooper in front of me, an All-American, and Branndi (Melero) is an All-American. Then you have Jade (Rhodes), Morgan (Estell) and the rest of the lineup. We’re solid all the way through. It gives you even more confidence knowing that if you don’t come through the person behind you has got you. It’s pretty special.”

With more fan support than at any time in the history of the program and the excitement of being ranked in the Top 25, the Auburn program is already better than at any time in school history. Still a young team for the most part and a bright future ahead, the Tigers are on the rise and Fagan said she’s just happy to be part of the fun.

“It’s pretty special,” Fagan said. “Like Coach always says, ‘Greatness is a way of life.’ We take pride in that. Every time we practice we practice hard. It’s nice to see that people are starting to realize how hard we work and appreciate it.”

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