Auburn, Ala.--Alyssa Rivera, who took over the right field starting spot during SEC portion of the schedule, needs to be a key player for the Auburn softball team in postseason, according to Coach Clint Myers.
Rivera, who was named an All-SEC Freshman and a All-SEC Second Team member this week, goes into the conference tournament with a .379 batting average, the best for any freshman in the league. She is also the only freshman to come through with at least 20 hits in SEC games.
“I hope she can do the same thing because going into Alabama she was leading the SEC in hitting in conference and she got a couple of hits against Alabama,” Myers said. “She got the big double for us.
“She is still trying to figure out the game,” the coach said. “What she hasn’t figured out isn’t hindering the outcomes she has been able to put on the field. That has been huge for us.
“I would have not thought at the beginning of the year Alyssa Rivera would be hitting fourth for us,” Myers added.
Left fielder Morgan Podany has noticed the improvement. “She has definitely stepped up and showed the whole team she is ready to compete and put herself out there,” Podany said. “Even when the game is on the line she can still go up there and get a hit or make a play so we are all confident in her ability to play for us.”
Rivera and the Tigers will be in Knoxville this week to play in the second round of the SEC Tournament after receiving an opening day bye after finishing second in the league with a 17-7 record. Overall, the Tigers are 45-9.
The Tigers are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. CDT on Thursday vs the winner of a Wednesday contest matching No. 7 seed Kentucky vs. No. 10 seed South Carolina.
Auburn is going for a third straight SEC Tournament title, something that has never been done in softball. If that happens Rivera will likely be a part of the reason for AU’s success.
The freshman from Eagle Lake, Fla., a member of the Team USA junior squad, has six game-winning hits. Since moving into the lineup in the Georgia series has made multiple outstanding defensive plays in right field while maintaining a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and throwing out three runners with her strong right arm.