Carlee Wallace (00) above is shown after hitting a home run.
Auburn, Ala.--Alyssa Rivera admitted that it was a lot of fun to watch herself on national TV last week after making an impressive head-first, diving catch that helped the Auburn softball Tigers defeat Georgia.
A substitute into right field in the first game of the previous SEC series vs. the Bulldogs after making that catch and another strong defensive play, she started the next two games and continued to play well in the field and at the plate.
On a listing of top plays on ESPN’s Sportscenter show, Rivera made No. 3, which is the ranking for her team in the current RPI index.
When the Tigers return to action on Friday at 6 p.m. to open a three-game home series vs. Ole Miss, Rivera is expected to be in the starting lineup.
“Whenever you are given an opportunity you have to make the most of the opportunity you are given,” she said.
Rivera noted that she has been trying to emulate the older players in practice and avoid making the same mistake twice. “Follow behind their footsteps and you will be fine,” she said.
The freshman said the Tigers are eager to play in front of their home fans for the first time since a 5-4 victory over LSU on March 12th. Auburn will take a 31-5 record into the Ole Miss series.
The Rebels, who are ranked 21st nationally, are 2-7 in the SEC while Auburn, which is ranked fifth and sixth in this week’s polls, is 6-3 in league play.
One of the reasons for the ranking is the play of junior catcher Carlee Wallace, the SEC Player of the Week. She hit .539 against Georgia and reached base nine times in 15 trips to the plate.
“I think I am just not really focusing on the outcomes,” Wallace said. “I am just kind of having fun with my team and trying to have some good at-bats.
“I think it is all kind of coming together right now, which is nice,” she added.
The Tigers will play for a second week without pitching coach and associate head coach Corey Myers, who resigned eight days ago citing personal, family reasons for the move.
Clint Myers, the head coach, along with Hunter Veach called the pitches vs. Georgia and will be doing it again this week.
“Really and truly, I felt his presence wasn’t missed,” Wallace said of not having Corey Myers with the team. “The coaches are doing a fantastic job of filling the roles we need to fill now. We didn’t really skip a beat.”
Wallace noted that she is having some input on which pitches are called, too. “I think it is really good because we are incorporating his point of view (Veach) and my point of view as well.”
The Tigers will also take on Ole Miss at 3 p.m. on Saturday in a game that will be televised on ESPNU. Sunday’s game is set for 1 p.m. and will also be televised on ESPNU.
“Everyone is in good spirits and we are happy to keep plugging along,” said Wallace, who is batting .402 with a .514 on-base percentage and a .768 slugging percentage since moving to the leadoff spot in the batting order.