Feb. 29, 2012
Auburn, Ala. -
The No. 19/17 Auburn softball team will take on five teams including No. 16/15 Michigan, No. 14/16 UCLA and No. 24 North Carolina in the three-day Citrus Classic tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla., this weekend.
Auburn goes into the tournament at 14-0 and ranked 19th in the NFCA top 25 and 17th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25. In addition to the three ranked teams, the Tigers will face Syracuse and Penn State at the Citrus Classic.
"We have a big challenge facing us this weekend," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Each of these teams is very strong and we will have our work cut out for us. We had a good weekend at the Strike Out Cancer Tournament in Boca Raton last week, but we have to put that behind us and get mentally focused on who we are playing this weekend, beginning with Syracuse."
Junior Brooke Lathan and senior Lauren Guzman led the Tigers offensively in Auburn's six games last week. Guzman had a team-best .529 batting average, going 9-for-17 with a double, five RBI and three runs. Guzman also had three sacrifice bunts. Lathan hit .471 (8-for-17) with a team-high 10 RBI, two home runs, one double and a triple. The duo combined to drive in 15 of the team's 38 RBI (39 percent) for the week.
The Tigers will play twice Friday, taking on Syracuse (5-5) at 3:45 p.m. CT followed by a 6 p.m. game against Michigan (11-3). The Tigers are 2-0 against Syracuse with the last meeting coming in 2008. The Wolverines own a 4-0 record against the Tigers with the last meeting coming in 2008.
On Saturday, Auburn plays at 9 a.m. against the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2) and at 11:15 a.m. against the UCLA Bruins (11-4). Auburn is 2-0 against the Tar Heels having defeated UNC in 2009 and 2007. Auburn will face UCLA for the first time.
Auburn concludes play in the tournament Sunday at 10:15 a.m. CT against the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-6). The Tigers are 2-0 all-time against Penn State with the only meetings coming in 1999.
Auburn's current 14-game winning streak is the second longest in program history. The 2011 Tigers hold the record, winning 15 consecutive from Feb. 12 to March 4. The 2011 squad had the streak snapped by No. 10 Oklahoma in a 6-0 defeat in Norman.
Live stats for each of the Tigers' games this weekend can be found at www.auburntigers.com. Fans can also follow the Tigers on Twitter at @AuburnTigersSB.