The fourth-ranked Tigers, who are playing in an NCAA Super Regional for the first time, will take on 11th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette in a best two-out-of-three series for the right to advance to the College World Series. The first game is set for 1 p.m. CDT on Friday at Auburn’s home park, Jane B. Moore Field.
“They are a great bunch of ladies,” said Myers, the SEC Coach of the Year in his second season at Auburn. “I am proud of what they have done and I know we can do more.
“I told them, ‘You need to enjoy the moment. You need to be able to experience all of the things that lie ahead of them because it is so special.’ Having the opportunity to have experienced it many times it is still special each time I go back. When you go back with a new club, doing something like this, it is going to be extra special.”
Lotief, who took his Ragin’ Cajuns to the College World Series last year, has a team that is a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament. This year’s team comes into Auburn with a 42-10 record to face the 52-9 Tigers, who have set numerous school records this year including the one for most wins in a season.
“We are here to have fun,” Lotief said. “I respect Clint and what he has done here. I have been knowing Clint for a long, long time and we had battles when he was at Arizona State. I expect this to be fun.
“Either way if we get run-ruled we are going to have fun, if we can run-rule them we are going to have fun,” Lotief added. “We are going to come here and play with some energy and we are not going to take this opportunity for granted.”
As the lower seed Lotief said that his team is the underdog, but said the Ragin’ Cajuns will be ready to compete with the Tigers. “We belong and our girls know that,” the coach said. “Our program as been relevant for 30 years.”
Fielding a team with plenty of experience in NCAA super regionals is a plus, Lotief said, but Auburn’s homefield advantage and hall of fame head coach is a big deal, he pointed out. “Clint understands what he needs to do to get those kids ready,” Lotief said.
Haley Fagan has been a standout performer for the Tigers at shortstop.
Myers, who coached two national championship teams at Arizona State and six in junior college softball and one in baseball, has a record of 1,407-363-1.
Myers coached teams won 14 games and lost just three in seven super regional appearances to advance to the College World Series six times. The only series loss was in 2010 to Florida and the only other loss of a game in the super regionals came in 2012 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in a series Arizona State won 2-1 in Tempe.
“Last year was the first time we got to host a super regional in the 15 years I?have been there,” Louisiana-Lafayette’s coach pointed out. “Wow, what an advantage. We have had to do it on the road a bunch of times and it is a very difficult obstacle to overcome. These kids understand the challenges and so do I.”
Auburn’s Myers said the opportunity to play in the super regional at sold out Jane B. Moore Field on national TV (ESPNU on Friday, ESPN?on Saturday) is exciting.
“We showed them a little video from when I was at Arizona State,” he said. “You always remember your first time. Maybe not your second and third, but you remember your first time you do something and this team has had a lot of firsts for them.
“I believe they have the capability of continuing that trend of having a lot of firsts--the first time to go to Oklahoma City, the first time to possibly win the national championship,” the coach added. “This team could possibly do that, but as we told them yesterday it’s time to stop talking and time to start doing.”
The weather forecast for the weekend is for dry weather for both days of the super regional. Game two is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday with game three to follow at 2 p.m. if necessary.
“If we play Auburn softball I know that we will do well,” Myers said.
Staying in that theme Haley Fagan, the only player on the Auburn team who has competed against the Ragin’ Cajuns echoed what her coach said. “They have good hitting, good pitching,” pointed out Fagan, who played in the same conference with Louisiana-Lafayette before transferring from South Alabama to Auburn.
“Like coach said, we are going to have to play Auburn softball,” the shortstop added. “I don’t think it is really about them. It is about our game, about the things we can control. If we play Auburn softball we aren’t going to have a problem with them.”
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