March 1, 2011
Auburn, Ala. -
The No. 25/24 Auburn softball team will take a tour through the Sooner State as the Tigers take on No. 10 Oklahoma, Illinois-Chicago and No. 19 Oklahoma State this weekend in the Oklahoma Classic.
Auburn (15-0) entered the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Top 25 poll this week at No. 24. The Tigers have not been ranked in the NFCA poll since the 2007 preseason when the Tigers were also ranked 24th. The in-season ranking by the NFCA is the first for Auburn since 2006. The Tigers were ranked 17th to open the 2006 season and remained ranked each week throughout the season, finishing 21st in the final poll.
The Tigers also entered the ESPN/USA Softball Top 25 poll this week, coming in at No. 25. It marks the first time since May 9, 2006, the Tigers have been ranked by ESPN/USA Softball. Auburn was ranked 24th in that poll heading in to NCAA Regional play. Auburn finished that season out of the ESPN/USA Softball final rankings however.
At 15-0, Auburn is on its longest winning streak and off to its best start in program history. The Tigers' previous best start to a season through the first 15 games came in 2009 at 14-1. The 2008 and 2004 teams share the record for the best start through the first 20 games of a season at 17-3.
"It's nice to earn the recognition, but we have a lot to improve on as a team," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We have worked hard to get to 15-0, but this isn't something to celebrate. We have a huge challenge in front of us in Oklahoma this weekend and we need to be focused on those three teams."
The Tigers will play in three cities in Oklahoma this weekend. Auburn begins by playing the 10th-ranked Sooners in Norman on March 4 with a 6 p.m. CT first pitch. Auburn is 0-1 all-time against Oklahoma, losing 6-2 in the 2002 Golden Panther Invitational in Miami, Fla.
Auburn will then play a pair of games in Oklahoma City on March 5. The Tigers will play Illinois-Chicago at 10 a.m. and No. 19 Oklahoma State at 12:30 p.m. Both games will be played at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The Tigers are 1-0 against Oklahoma State, winning 6-3 on Feb. 11, 2000. The Tigers will be playing Illinois-Chicago for the first time. Auburn will then travel to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State at 11 a.m. on March 6.
Live stats for all games can be found at www.auburntigers.com.