Makayla Martin (above) is a freshman pitcher for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--A pitching staff that had helped put Auburn on top of the SEC softball standings for much of the year hit a rough stretch in four of the five final regular season games, but the group rebounded with a strong performance in leading the Tigers to the SEC Tournament Championship.
In victories over No. 4 Alabama, No. 1 Florida and No. 13 LSU, Auburn’s pitchers combined to allow just 17 hits and five bases on balls in 21 innings at the SEC Tournament in Starkville, Miss. The team’s earned run average for those games was 1.33.
“The pitching was phenomenal,” said Coach Clint Myers, who gave the credit to Corey Myers, his son and pitching coach.
“After the game I gave Corey a hug because he is the maestro of the pitching staff,” Auburn’s third-year head coach said. “He called the pitches and works with them on a daily basis.
“They have truly bought into his philosophy of pitching and they are all supportive of each other,” Myers said. “When Makayla (Martin) went out and Rachael (Walters) went in to replace her, Makayla was Rachael’s biggest cheerleader.”
The Tigers won the league championship game 7-1 on Saturday with Martin allowing one run in five innings and Walters pitching two scoreless innings of relief.
Clint Myers and the Tigers are hoping for a return trip to the College World Series.
“Corey has a great grasp of what is going on with the pitchers,” Myers pointed out. “He knows when to put someone in and when to not. I give the credit to Corey and to the girls, and the special relationship they have with him.”
For the season Auburn’s five pitchers have a combined earned run average of 2.20.
After winning a second straight SEC Tournament title the Tigers will head into the NCAA Tournament with a 49-9 record and a No. 4 national seed. The Tigers will open play in the Auburn Regional at 6 p.m. CDT on Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. Oregon State will take on South Carolina UpState in the opening game at 3:30 p.m. on Friday at the double-elimination event on the AU campus.