May 16, 2014
Welcome home: Auburn's Morgan Estell, right, gave the Tigers a temporary lead with a homer in the fourth
By Charles Goldberg
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Clint Myers has seen the good, like sweeping to NCAA championships without a loss; and fighting to come out of the loser's bracket to play another softball day.
The Auburn coach found himself in the more difficult of those two situations Friday after North Dakota State beat his Tigers 5-2 in the Minneapolis Regional opener. Auburn dropped to the loser's bracket in the regional, and must beat the loser of Friday's Minnesota-Green Bay at 4 p.m. Saturday just to play again Saturday night.
And that's just the start of it.
"The great thing about it," said Myers, "you win two on Saturday and you play two on Sunday, you get to play the following week. It's been done many, many times. Can we do it? We have the capabilities without question. I don't there's a single person with Auburn across their chest that doesn't think we can do it. We just now have to do it, not talk about it."
Myers won naitonal titles at Arizona State. He's trying to get Auburn thinking the big time, too, in his first year with the team.
Auburn led North Dakota State 1-0 through three inning, and then then 2-1 on a long home run by Morgan Estell in the fourth. Those kind of hits had carried Auburn all year. But North Dakota State's Maritza Lopez-Portillo homered to tie it in the fifth, and Amanda Grable hit a three-run homer in the sixth to win it.
"No excuses," Myers said. "Action right now."
Auburn fell to 39-18-1. North Dakota State improved to 36-16.
Auburn beat North Dakota State 11-3 way back on Feb. 7 when the Bison headed south and ventured outside for the very first time. It was a reunion for two old friends, Myers and Bison coach Darren Mueller. But Mueller said things have changed since the cold of winter.
"It's a totally different team," Mueller said.
And now? "We've got nothing to lose. We're not supposed to win this thing this weekend."
But the Bison beat Auburn.
"We didn't play as well as we could. North Dakota State outplayed us," Myers said.
Auburn led 2-1 in the fourth, but left more potential runs on base.
"We had people in scoring position several times and we couldn't get a run home," Myers said. "Do we have to do better? You bet. Do we have to do more than just talk about it? You bet. That's the thing for us. Do better.
"That's the plan for us tomorrow. Do better."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine