Auburn, Ala.--All-SEC junior catcher Carlee Wallace is eager to get back on the field as her Tigers open play in the NCAA Softball Tournament’s Auburn Regional on Friday.
The Tigers are schedule to take on No. 4 seed East Tennessee State at 3:30 p.m. CDT with No. 2 seed Cal playing No. 3 seed Notre Dame at 1 p.m. to open the double elimination tournament.
“I think no one is going to be a pushover so we have to bring our best,” said Wallace, who has a .348 batting average for her Tigers who are the No. 7 national seed for the 64-team tournament. “We have to prepare accordingly.”
Auburn, which is the No. 1 seed for the regional and No. 7 seed nationally, brings a 46-10 record into the regional. “I am excited and I live for this time of year,” the catcher said. “I am just really excited this time has come.”
Asked what the Tigers need to do win the regional, the first step for a return to the College World Series, Wallace said, “I have already starting talking to (Kasey) Cooper about how we are going to get our girls together and how we are going to get them going.”
Cooper, a senior third baseman, was the 2016 SEC Player of the Year.
“All the energy we have got left in us we are going to use it,” Wallace said. “We are going to lead the team by example. We are going to keep a high-energy, fast-paced practice and we are just going to have fun.
“That is what we need to get back to--why we started to play softball to begin with...to have fun. We need to make this fun for ourselves. Yeah, we need to take care of business, but we need to have fun as well.”
Auburn will take a 46-10 record into the regional. East Tennessee State, the Southern Conference Tournament champion, has a 29-24 record. The other opening round matchup in the regional pits No. 2 seed Cal of the Pac 12 vs. No. 3 seed Notre Dame from the ACC. Cal has a 30-22 record while Notre Dame is 33-21.
The regional will run Friday through Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field in a double elimination format.
Last season Wallace was a key performer as the Tigers won their regional and then defeated Arizona in the Auburn Super Regional to advance to the College World Series where they finished as the runnerup to Oklahoma. The NCAA Tournament Committee set up the possibility of the Sooners coming to Auburn for a super regional if Auburn and Oklahoma both win their regionals.