Auburn's Clint Myers with a few words for his team Sunday
By Charles Goldberg
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Coach Clint Myers says the bump in the road that was Auburn's final softball game of the regular season won't deter the Tigers from their post-season goals.
"Now, we've got to go out again for that opportunity to play for a national championship," Myers said after LSU beat Auburn 7-1 Sunday.
Auburn finished second in the SEC and won a first-day bye as the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament that begins Wednesday here at Tiger Park. Auburn is 46-9 overall and 18-6 in the SEC. LSU improved to 44-10 overall and 15-9 in the league.
Maybe Auburn surprised everybody but itself during the regular season.
"We finished second when we were picked seventh, so that's pretty darn good," Myers said. "And the scary part of it is we're not playing our best softball yet. If we get everything fired, we're going to be very tough to beat. We're tough right now, and we don't have all the cylinders firing."
These two teams aren't going anywhere. LSU will practice at home leading up to the tournament, and Auburn will be in Baton Rouge, too, juggling three days of practice with the 25 tests Auburn players will take here during finals. The tournament shapes up this weay: Florida is the No. 1 seed, Auburn is No. 2, Alabama is No 3 and LSU is No. 4. Auburn will play the winner of Wednesday's Missouri-Mississippi State game at 10 a.m. Thursday. The championship game is 7 p.m. Saturday.
Your tournament backet.
Auburn would have won the regular-season SEC title if it had beaten LSU, but Myers said Sunday's game didn't diminish the Tigers' accomplishments this season or their goal in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn will likely a host an NCAA Regional, if not a Super Regional as well.
Myers said playing in the tough SEC has prepared Auburn for anything.
"We won seven out of eight conference series, which means we played eight Super Regionals and we won seven," he said. "We just came up a little short today. They were better than us today, but we were better than them the first two days. There are things we're still trying to learn to finish."
Auburn beat LSU on Friday and Saturday, handing LSU only their second and third home losses of the season.
Auburn led 1-0 Sunday after Tiffany Howard drove in Haley Fagan in the second. But LSU scored two in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Auburn, known for its power, wasn't up to its offensive self in the weekend series. The Tigers had five hits Sunday after getting one hit Saturday, that a game-winning homer from Fagan for a 1-0 win, and collecting three hits Friday in a 2-1 win.
"It's about being able to hit good pitching. We just haven't been swinging the bats, so we're going to put a little emphasis on that the next three days," Myers said. "We know it's there. We've done it all year long. When they wake up, they'll come out with a vengeance."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine