By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's down a game, but coach Clint Myers knows the opportunity to return to softball's College World Series remains in force for his Tigers.
Arizona beat Auburn 5-3 Saturday night in the first game of the Auburn Super Regional, meaning the Tigers must beat the Wildcats twice Sunday to keep its World Series' hopes alive.
"We've been here before — we, the coaching staff — so we talked to the team on what we need to do," Myers said. "It's another day, another game and another opportunity to go out and play Auburn softball."
Auburn plays Arizona at 1 p.m. at Jane B. Moore Field on ESPN. If the Tigers win, they'll play again at 4 on ESPNU. If they lose, Arizona will head to the World Series.
Myers has been to eight softball World Series and a bunch more in different college divisions. Tiffany Howard has been to one. But like Myers, she knows what it takes to battle back.
Auburn lost its first World Series game last season, then hung around to play three more games.
Auburn needs a two-game winning streak Sunday.
"We definitely have enough fight for tomorrow to work our way back," said Auburn's leadoff hitter.
'We've been here before...' Clint Myers knows what it will take for Auburn to win Super Regional on Sunday. Video... pic.twitter.com/ddQ7p6ql41
— Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 29, 2016
Auburn will be looking for more hits then. The Tigers had just one until Jade Rhodes hit a homer in the bottom of the seventh. Arizona had nine hits, but Myers calculated seven of those never left the infield.
"We've got to do a better job of getting outs on ground balls,” he said. "We had 22 ground balls and yet several of them went for hits when they shouldn't."
“We," said pitching coach Corey Myers, "didn't get enough outs on those bunt plays."
Auburn fell to 52-10. Arizona improved to 40-19.
Arizona scored a run in the third, but Auburn answered with two in the bottom of the inning. The Tigers scored this way:
Madi Gipson led off with a double and Whitney Jordan was hit by a pitch. The Tigers scored when Howard’s grounder to short was misplayed, and Gipson and Jordan didn’t stop running when Arizona committed another error on the play.
Arizona tied it 2-2 in the top of the fifth, and took a 5-2 lead in the sixth barely hitting the ball out of the infield.
Danielle O’Toole improved to 26-10. Kaylee Carlson fell to 16-2.
Myers said he thought his team was ready for Saturday’s game. Sunday, he said, "maybe they'll stay a little more relaxed."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine