Softball Tigers Looking to Stay In SEC Race

The Auburn softball Tigers will take on Arkansas in the regular season finale home series as Auburn looks to keep alive in its drive to win the SEC Championship.

Branndi Melero (above) has helped the Tigers lead the SEC in batting average, home runs and runs scored.

Auburn, Ala.--Teams going in different directions will meet for a three-game SEC softball series at Jane B. Moore Field with the host Tigers intent on sweeping the Arkansas Razorbacks to keep pace in the race to win the league regular season championship.

The eighth-ranked Tigers, who are 41-7 overall and 13-5 in the conference, will take on an Arkansas team that is 1-17 in the SEC and 15-30 overall.

It will be the first time for Auburn to play the Razorbacks since Clint Myers took over as head coach for the Tigers last season. His team goes into the weekend ranked third nationally in RPI.

“You can’t be looking past them saying you should win this,” Myers said of the series that features 6 p.m. CDT games on Friday and Saturday plus a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. “That is the great thing about sports--every single game you have to go out and bring your A game. To do the things we want to do and to be where we need to be, we have to take care of business.”

The Tigers lead the all-time competition vs. Arkansas 30-24, but in the last matchup two years ago the Razorbacks swept three games and kept Auburn from earning a spot in the SEC Tournament.

Right fielder Branndi Melero, who was a part of the team that lost in 2013 to the Razorbacks, is a senior going into the final scheduled home series. However, she said that she believes it won’t be her last time to play at Jane B. Moore Field and she is not considering it her home finale.

“I know it is the last SEC home series, but it is not our last home series,” she declared “We are pushing on hosting regionals and super regionals so we are planning on being on this field until we go to Oklahoma to play for the College World Series. I am not really thinking about that (final home series) at all.”

Auburn could be back to its regular infield alignment this weekend with Haley Fagan returning to shortstop after filling in at third base the last two weeks for Kasey Cooper, who missed the Texas A&M series and only saw action as a designated hitter last week vs. Alabama.

“We are hoping,” Myers said of the potential of having the regular lineup back on the field. “Coop is getting better. It is kind of a day-to-day thing. All signs point that she is getting better and feeling better.”

Kasey Cooper is a strong hitter who is a standout defensive player at third base.

The Tigers are a half game out of first place in the league behind Florida, which is 13-4 going into its home series vs. Texas A&M, which is 9-9 in league play.>/p>

LSU is tied with Auburn at 13-5 and will on the road vs. Missouri, which is 11-7 in the SEC.

Auburn will close the regular season next week with three games at LSU before playing in the SEC Tournament on LSU’s home field in Baton Rouge.

Myers said he expects his Tigers to be concentrating on each individual game vs. the Razorbacks. “They know what they have to do, now it is about going out there and getting it done,” he said.

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