Auburn, Ala.--Going into their own NCAA softball regional tournament with a .272 team batting average, the bats warmed up along with the weather as the Auburn Tigers scored 23 runs during three wins on the way to advancing to the super regional round of play.
On Sunday, in an 8-2 victory vs. Cal, the Tigers pounded out 16 hits to raise their three-game regional total to 40 hits. That is a .426 average for the regional, which lifted the team’s season batting average nine points to .281.
Senior shortstop Haley Fagan led the charge with the best batting average in the four-team regional. She was 7-11 at the plate for a .636 batting average. She walked twice, scored three runs and drove in three. She also homered on Sunday.
Her teammate on the left side of the infield, Kasey Cooper, broke out of a slump going 6-12 in the regional with one walk. Cooper scored four times and contributed three RBI. She homered in Sunday’s game.
Asked if she has been concentrating on having a strong finish as a senior, Fagan said, “No, I don’t really think about that. I just think about hitting the ball and it is working right now.”
In the week of practice leading up to regionals, Coach Clint Myers focused on hitting and it paid off. Asked if that helped, Fagan said, “Oh, definitely. Classes are stressful and not having that extra stress is a good thing.”
In 94 official at-bats Auburn batters produced 40 hits with three doubles, one triple and three homers while striking out just seven times and walking 14.
Kasey Cooper (right) celebrates with freshman Alyssa Rivera (left) in Sunday's 8-2 victory over Cal.
Cooper said she liked how the Tigers came out swinging. On Sunday they scored four runs on four hits before Cal recorded out one in the top of the first inning.
“We had 31 hits in two games,” the senior third baseman said. “That is a statement piece saying that we are here to play. Our offense hasn’t clicked until now--what a better time.
“From a confidence standpoint everybody’s confident, everybody’s seeing the ball well,” Cooper pointed out.