Jan. 27, 2012
Auburn, Ala. -
The Auburn softball team opens the 2012 season at home Thursday, Feb. 9, against Alabama State in the first game of the Tiger Invitational tournament. First pitch between the Tigers and Hornets is 6 p.m. at Jane B. Moore Field.
In addition to Alabama State, Auburn will host Bowling Green, Wright State and Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne in the three-day tournament.
"We are excited to begin the season at home in front of our fans," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Our players really enjoy playing at home and our fans always come out and show their support. They really make it an exciting atmosphere."
The season-opener against Alabama State is the first of 10 consecutive home games for the Tigers. Auburn's 2012 schedule features 11 teams ranked in either the NFCA or ESPN preseason top 25 poll.
Following the Tiger Invitational, Auburn hosts the inaugural SEC/ACC/Big 12 Challenge tournament Feb. 17-19, which brings four preseason top 25 teams to Jane B. Moore Field.
The tournament features No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 11 Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are ranked 23rd in the ESPN preseason top 25.
"We have a very exciting home schedule with some top-notch competition coming to our place," Deese said. "Our players are looking forward to the challenge of playing these teams. We have a solid senior class that understands the level we have to play at and we need them to lead the way."
Auburn is coming off a 40-19 season in 2011, including a 15-13 record in Southeastern Conference play. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament last season after knocking off No. 3 Florida 6-2 in the first round. The Tigers also claimed series wins against No. 4 Georgia and No. 18 Kentucky last season.