Kaylee Carlson (above) will take a 26-4 record into SEC play.
Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn softball team received a third straight NCAA regional host bid on Sunday night as the Tigers will play host to East Tennessee State on Friday while Notre Dame will take on the Cal Bears in the other opening round matchup at the Auburn Regional.
The Tigers will play at 3:30 p.m. CDT with the game scheduled for TV on ESPNU. No. 2 seed Cal and No. 3 seed Notre Dame will play at 1 p.m. to open the four-team, double-elimination tournament.
Auburn is the No. 7 national seed and if it wins its regional it would be host to the regional winner featuring No. 7 Oklahoma, the team that defeated the Tigers in 2016 national championship game.
"I thought it was ironic the matchup in the supers, but we have a very good regional--four quality teams," Coach Clint Myers said, adding that his team will need to perform well this weekend to have a chance to play the Oklahoma Sooners in a super regional matchup. The Tigers opened the 2017 season with a win vs. Oklahoma in a game played in Mexico.
East Tennessee State earned the right to play the Tigers by going 4-0 last week in the Southern Conference Tournament in Chattanooga to win their first ever NCAA Tournament bid. At 29-24 the Bucs are one victory shy of tying the school record for victories in a season.
Notre Dame is making its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 22nd in the past 24 years.
Cal has a 30-22 record while Notre Dame is 33-21. Auburn has not played any of those teams this season.
"Cal has our old pitching coach from Arizona State," Myers said of Chuck D’Arcy. "I don't know if he has changed the signs. If he doesn't we know them. It is going to be a good regional. We have to play good softball to have the opportunity to play the winner of the other (regional)."
It is a fourth straight NCAA Tournament bid for the Tigers, all under the direction of Myers. It is a third straight year the Tigers have been a national seed.
Auburn used home field advantage the past two years to help win their regionals and super regionals to advance to the College World Series for the first time in 2015 followed it with a return trip in 2016.
The Tigers will take a 46-10 record into the postseason, but will have to bounce back from perhaps their worst outing of the season in a 6-0 loss to LSU in semi-finals of the SEC Tournament on Saturday.
Clint Myers is looking for the formula to return the Tigers to Oklahoma City for the College World Series.
"The journey is all about the kids believing," Myers said of his team's success in postseason. "I have been very fortunate to coach people who believe in me. If I can get people to believe in what I am saying, and what we can accomplish, that is why we have been able to get three national seeds."
Myers added, "It is the belief system--the ability to have a belief and go out and pursue it with all of your heart and being to go out and be the team you want to be. We said at the beginning of the year this had the makings to be a good team, and possibly a great team, but there was some growing up to do and consistency (needed) and a belief we had to get to."