Kasey Cooper (above) will be playing in her fourth NCAA regional tournament.
Auburn, Ala.--The time of the season the Auburn softball Tigers train for throughout the year is here as they open play in their own NCAA regional tournament at 3:30 p.m. CDT on Friday.
A sellout crowd is expected to check out the 46-10 Tigers, the No. 1 seed in their regional, vs. Southern Conference Tournament champion East Tennessee State. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
“I am excited, I am excited to have some fun,” senior third baseman Kasey Cooper said. “This is the moment we all live for.
“All the blood, sweat and tears, and the pukes occasionally in the fall, it pays off for this moment because right now everybody is on a clean slate,” the three-time All-American said. “What you did previously got you here, but it won’t get you to the end. If you don’t show up, you aren’t going to win.”
Auburn pitcher Kaylee Carlson noted a key to success is to not look ahead to the big prize, a trip to Oklahoma City for the College World Series.
“Every game counts from this point,” the All-SEC junior said. “We are going to play good teams from here on out so you can’t take any team lightly...You need to go out and play your best game every time you step on the field.”
Kaylee Carlson leads the Auburn pitching staff with a 26-4 record and a 1.14 earned run average.
East Tennessee State, the No. 4 seed, enters the matchup vs. Auburn with a 29-24 record. The regional will open at 1 p.m. as No. 2 seed Cal (30-22) plays No. 3 seed Notre Dame (33-21).
Auburn coach Clint Myers, who put his team through its final pre-tournament practice on Thursday evening, said he likes what he is seeing from the players. “It has been very good. the energy has been up. The knowledge we are learning is going in the direction it is needed to for us to make our run.”
The Tigers are making a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance under Myers, including the program’s first two trips to the softball world series the past two seasons.