Auburn, Ala.--With a record of 20-2 and national rankings of No. 2 and No. 4, the Auburn softball Tigers open SEC play this weekend with a three-game home series vs. 12th-ranked LSU, which has an 18-4 record.
“If we get everybody firing on all cylinders I will tell you what, this could be one heck of a good team,” said Coach Clint Myers, who noted that Tigers are still a work in progress. “This is still a young team that needs to grow, mature and gain experience.”
Auburn and LSU will play 6 p.m. CST games on Frida, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and finish the series with a 4 p.m. contest on Sunday. The Saturday and Sunday games will be televised on the SEC Network.
Myers said the visitors will bring a strong team to Jane B. Moore Field. “They are a good ball club," Myers said. “They are well coached and they have got great athletes. They are ranked high and there is a reason. They are an SEC school and everybody knows how tough the SEC is.”
Commenting on his fourth Auburn team, Myers said, “The biggest focus is going to be on the consistency. That is something we really work on each and every day in order to win--to be one that doesn’t beat itself and makes the plays.”
Clint Myers is shown having fun at the ballpark with junior Courtney Shea.
Auburn has been focused on improving its hitting after a slow start. The team’s batting average (.310 batting average) and power numbers (.528 slugging percentage) have been steadily rising. The pitching has been strong since opening day when Makayla Martin earned a victory vs. defending national champion Oklahoma.
The Tigers, who have been near the national lead in team earned run average (0.66) this season, moved to No. 1 in that category after a strong performance in the Wilson/DeMarini Classic last weekend.
“When I saw that I was pretty shocked because I didn’t realize how well we were doing,” Martin said. “I like how we are going into the SECs like that.
“I feel like if we just keep that up the season should be going good,” Martin said. “It takes a lot of pressure off the hitters because they are not freaking out trying to score every single at-bat. Obviously, you are, but you are not rushed.”
A sophomore right-hander, Martin said that the young players will be tested in every game vs. SEC competition. “Every pitch is going to be a challenge,” she said. “It is totally different...you are playing with the top players in the nation--it’s serious, but they will learn quickly.”
Auburn’s pitchers have been getting solid play behind them for most of the season. Asked if he has been pleased with his team’s fielding, which is .974, Myers said, “I? have been, but the bad thing is we are not fielding as well as we are capable. We are still doing pretty good. We are leading the conference by a lot in double plays.”