Makayla Martin (above) is shown in a regular season game vs. Georgia.
Oklahoma City--Freshman Makayla Martin has pitched previously vs. the Georgia Bulldogs, but the stakes are much higher for the rematch scheduled for Saturday evening at the College Softball World Series.
The right-hander has gotten the call from Coach Clint Myers and his pitching coach, Corey Myers, to start against the Bulldogs in a winners bracket game. The contest, which was originally scheduled for Friday, was pushed back a day due to two other games being rained out on Thursday night.
Auburn swept the regular season series vs. the Bulldogs, winning 4-3, 12-3 and 2-1 at AU’s home park. Martin pitched the middle game of the series that the Tigers won by run-rule. She allowed six hits and two runs in 3 2/3 innings before senior Rachael Walters closed the game allowing no runs and two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
“They are going to want to beat us,” Martin said. “We just have to play Auburn softball. If we do that we are going to have no problems.”
In her last outing Martin was the winning pitcher in a super regional victory over Arizona.
Martin noted that she is “excited” about the opportunity to play on college softball’s biggest stage. On Friday she said she felt positive about how she was throwing the ball. “I was feeling great,” she said. “I felt like everything was working. I wish we were playing (Friday).”
The freshman has a 14-3 record and a 1.70 earned run average, but had to prove to the coaches she was ready to pitch on a staff that returned three pitchers from last season’s World Series team plus talented transfer Kaylee Carlson. In fact, they told her that she might be redshirted unless she proved she needed to be in the circle ahead of the other pitchers.
“I was going into the season thinking I don’t want to redshirt,” she recalls. “I am going to work my butt off and I am going to be playing on the field. I?think that really motivated me. It pushed me harder to become better.”
The Tigers used their unscheduled day off to practice at a high school in Oklahoma City. “It shouldn’t affect us in any way,” she said of the schedule change.
Senior outfielder Maria Mitchell is shown in action at Friday's practice.
Martin’s head coach agreed and said he expects the Tigers to be ready to compete at a high level on Saturday evening like they did in a 10-3 victory on Thursday vs. UCLA.
“You can’t teach experience,” said Myers, noting that most of the players who will be on the field for the Tigers played in last year’s World Series. “There are no surprises,”?he said. “Like the weather question, they are ready for the weather. The only ones that are really doing it for the first time are the freshmen, but everybody else out here is with that experience, and it is going to be even easier next year.
“As we become a more dominant team and come back to the World Series, it becomes easier and easier,” Myers added.