Photo by Jason Caldwell

Jason Caldwell's Monday Morning Quarterback Column: Fagan's Return, Auburn Recruiting Thoughts

Looking at Auburn softball and a return to the College World Series and why Baylor's firing of Art Briles could be a boost for the Tigers.

Haley Fagan (above) celebrates are hitting a double.

Auburn softball is heading back to the College World Series in Oklahoma City for the second year in a row where the Tigers will face UCLA in a rematch from last season's event. The timing couldn’t be better for the Tigers with Haley Fagan starting to come into her own at the plate after missing most of the year because of an ACL injury.

Coming up with a big double in game one and a home run in game two, Fagan’s play on Sunday was just another example of what makes this Auburn team a special one.

“I think it’s just been a huge part of our team this year, to pick up the person if they don’t do their job before you,” Fagan said of her big double in the first game. “Our batting lineup is solid all the way through. Jade (Rhodes) just barely missed that bunt, and she was like, ‘pick me up.’ I knew that there were runners in scoring position and I just wanted to put a good swing on a good pitch and I got it. It just happened to be a double.”

Getting Fagan going could be huge for the Tigers as they shoot for a national championship in Oklahoma City. As Arizona showed, left-handed pitching has been a problem for Auburn this season with the strength of the lineup hitting from the left side at the top of the order. Having Fagan back gives the Tigers another big bat from the right side and should also force pitchers to give Carlee Wallace and Jade Rhodes better pitches to hit in the Women’s College World Series.

Speaking of getting better pitches to hit, Coach Clint Myers made a masterful move on Sunday with his decision to move Kasey Cooper to the No. 2 spot in the order ahead of Emily Carosone. For much of the last two weeks Cooper has been pitched around , something teams are less likely to do with Carosone hitting behind her. The move paid off in a big way and is something I think we can expect to see more of this season.

What Myers continues to do with the softball program is nothing short of amazing. Walking into the stadium on Saturday afternoon well over an hour before the game it just struck me how incredible it is to see Auburn softball be in such demand. When Myers arrived at Auburn three years ago tickets weren’t even sold to watch games at Jane B. Moore Field.

This weekend tickets were going for as much as $100 on ticket broker websites, which goes to show you how much of an impact Myers and his staff as well as this team have made an impact on Auburn fans. Young and old now flock to see the Tigers play softball and with another trip to the College World Series on tap the program is only continuing to grow in popularity among fans and also stature among recruits.

Photo by Jason Caldwell

Kellen Mond is an interesting quarterback prospect who attends IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla

As I have mentioned before, Auburn’s chances with four-star quarterback Kellen Mond took a dramatic turn for the better last week when Baylor fired Coach Art Briles. There is no question he would be a huge get for the Tigers, but he may not be the only Baylor recruit to look Auburn’s way in the short term. A player Auburn offered in last year’s class, four-star back Kameron Martin is an explosive prospect who can take it the distance from anywhere on the field.

Signing with Baylor in the 2016 class, Martin is a player who could ask for an unconditional release from Baylor in the coming days and if that happens Auburn may get another look from the speedster. With a need for speed at the running back position, Auburn could be an attractive place to land for a player of Martin’s abilities. If that happens it could be one of the most important late additions ever to an Auburn recruiting class.


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