Coach Clint Myers (above, with stopwatch) watches his players celebrate Sunday's 4-3 walk-off win vs. FSU.
Oklahoma City--Asked if he expected the Tigers could be in the finals of the College Softball World Series in his third season at Auburn, a program that had never even won an NCAA regional or an SEC Championship prior to his arrival, Clint Myers said his team’s success is not a surprise.
Myers, who won two World Series titles while coaching at Arizona State, said, “The answer is yes. I believed in the people I work with, that if they buy in, which we've proven that they have, and if they work and commit, great things happen.
“I mean, we've still got softball to play, but having the opportunity to play for a national championship is something that we've talked about since we got there, and again, it's them buying in. It's them buying into the hard work and to the commitment of practice and weight room and everything else.”
Auburn defeated FSU 8-7 on Sunday night in the College World Series semi-final round to earn a spot in the best two-out-of-three championship series vs. Oklahoma on Monday at 7 p.m. CDT.
Last year the Tigers, who finished 2-2 in their first-ever World Series appearance, lost in nine innings, 3-2, to the Florida Gators, who went on to win the national championship.
Myers said the credit for his team’s SEC Tournament championship and a 56-10 record goes to the players.
“I found a bunch of young women that really wanted to win, and they really wanted to learn, and they were willing to do anything,” he said. “As soon as we got their trust, they would run through a brick wall.”
Left fielder Tiffany Howard (left) and Victoria Draper (right) celebrate Draper's diving catch in left center field.
In other news and notes:
*Auburn's home park, Jane B. Moore Field, will be open for fans who want to watch the World Series final round games. Concessions will be available and the gates will open at 5:15 CDT for Monday's 6 p.m. game as the Tigers open their best two-out-three matchup vs. Oklahoma.
•Auburn improved to 5-2 in its second WCWS appearance while Florida State falls to 8-18 all-time in its ninth appearance (1987, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 2002, 2004, 2014, 2016).
•Kaylee Carlson, who started and returned to the game in relief for the final inning, improved her record to 19-2 in her first season with the Tigers. The sophomore is a transfer from North Carolina. She won 18 games last season for the Tar Heels.
*The walk-off victory was the second of the 2016 season for Auburn, which got its previous one on a three-run home by Kasey Cooper to defeat Georgia 4-3.
•Auburn, which has generally gotten off to strong starts in games throughout the season, has scored in the opening inning of its wins in the College World Series vs. UCLA, Georgia and FSU. For the season Auburn has outscored opponents 126-25 and the Tigers have a 34-4 record in games they scored first.
*The Tigers improved to 4-1 this season in extra inning games while Florida State was 0-2 in extra innings as it finished with a 55-10 record.