It could be an historic weekend for the Auburn softball program as Coach Clint Myers takes his team to LSU with a chance to win the first SEC softball championship in AU history. However, it will be anything but easy as the Tigers play the final three games of the regular season.
If Auburn is going to move to the top of the standings, the Tigers will have to do it at the expense of an LSU team that has been very tough to beat in Baton Rouge where the Bayou Bengals have a 31-1 record, the best home mark of any team in the SEC.
In addition to competing for the league title, Auburn is trying to earn a top eight national seed that would assure that the Tigers would be able to be a host for an NCAA regional and a super regional, too, if they advance past the four-team regional round.
Auburn is coming off a three-game sweep of last place Arkansas while LSU, the former No. 1 ranked team, lost two out of three games at Missouri, a team that has been playing well late in the season.
“There are a lot of combinations, but to me the biggest thing is to really get ourselves ready for the (NCAA) Tournament,” said Myers, who in his second season at Auburn is trying to take the Tigers to their first-ever trip to the College World Series.
“We are telling them this is postseason mentality, this is a great rehearsal for what we need to do,” Myers said of the challenge of facing a strong LSU team featuring one of the nation’s top pitching staffs. “This a great super regional type of practice. We may be on the road for a super regional.”
Myers said that in the only SEC series his Tigers didn’t win as they took just one of three games vs. Alabama, his team wasn’t disciplined enough at the plate to open that series. “We have to stay in the zone,” he said, noting his batters need to avoid swinging at ‘pitcher’s pitches’ instead of what the coach calls ‘good hitting pitches.’”
Friday and Saturday’s games in Baton Rouge are scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT starts with coverage on SEC+ while the Sunday contest is set for 1 p.m. with TV coverage on ESPN.
“Our guys really have to lock in on what we need to do,” said Myers, who added, “They are an excellent ball club. They are well coached with good athletes so we have got to bring our ‘A’ game and go out and play Auburn softball.”
The Auburn softball team has featured a lot of good hitting while posting a 44-8 record, which has the Tigers as the No. 3 RPI team nationally behind Florida (47-4) and LSU (43-8).
Auburn is batting an SEC-best .368 and leads the league in numerous offensive categories including 92 home runs, which is a single-season school record.
The Auburn team celebrates following a home run.
“LSU is a great team,” said Auburn center fielder Morgan Estell, a senior who is the team captain. “We are a great team so it is going to be who executes. We are going to focus on playing the game, not really playing the opponent.”
LSU is hitting .349 with 54 home runs and has the league’s second-best earned run average at 1.81. Auburn’s pitching, which has been less consistent than LSU’s, has a 3.73 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .211 vs. LSU pitching while Auburn’s opponents have a .255 in games vs. AU.
Following the series vs. LSU the visiting Tigers will stay in Baton Rouge where they will compete in next week’s SEC Tournament that starts on Wednesday.