Auburn, Ala.--It’s been a season of firsts for the Auburn softball team as its second-year head coach, Clint Myers, prepares the Tigers for their first-ever appearance at the College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The Tigers, who will take a 54-9 record into their opening round matchup vs. 50-12 LSU on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CDT, will be one of eight teams competing in the double-elimination event at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Tigers have a 2-1 record vs. LSU, the team the Tigers faced in Baton Rouge to close the regular season. Auburn won 1-0 and 2-1 vs. LSU and lost 7-1 in the third game. LSU handled Arizona in the Baton Rouge Super Regional on Saturday and Sunday to set up the rematch with Auburn.
Baton Rouge is the site where Auburn won its first SEC Tournament title this season. Myers’ team followed that with Auburn’s first-ever regional championship as the Tigers defeated Tennessee Tech once (4-1) and South Alabama twice (1-0, 7-4) before sweeping two games vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (12-11, 6-3) in the super regional round on Friday and Saturday.
Auburn’s coach has said throughout the season that his team was capable of making a trip to the College World Series while adding the Tigers have the potential to take their performance to a higher level.
Asked if that is still the case, Myers, the 2015 SEC Coach of the Year, said, “I think so. The last two games we have done a good job of coming back (Friday) and holding the lead (Saturday). We are starting to understand ourselves and play with great pride. It is a different hero each and every day.
“We are using a lot of different people off of the bench,” the hall of fame coach added. “They know now that anyone may get called on. They know their roles and they are really locking in on that. They understand the game a little better now. They are extremely talented and I am proud of them.”
Although Auburn’s players are novices at competing in the College World Series, Myers isn’t. He took Arizona State to the event six times in his seven seasons as head coach at his alma mater. Twice his Sun Devils won the championship.
Sophomore third baseman Kasey Cooper hit a three-run homer for the Tigers on Saturday vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. Cooper earned All-SEC honors this year.
Auburn has set numerous offensive records this season including home runs, runs scored, runs batted in and bases on balls and has a chance to finish the season with AU highs for batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage on a team featuring numerous players who have produced personal-highs in a variety of categories.
Auburn is the No. 4 national seed for the NCAA Tournament while LSU went into the tournament as the No. 5 national seed.
The double elimination tournament, which features a best two-out-three format matching the two finalists, will run through Wednesday, June 2nd or 3rd at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, a venue that holds 7,300 fans. Auburn and LSU are two of five SEC teams in the field along with defending national champion Florida, SEC Tournament runnerup Tennessee and Alabama. Tennessee and Florida will play in the opening round while Alabama will face Michigan of the Big 10. The other first round game matches Pac 12 rivals UCLA and Oregon.
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