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No. 10 Softball set for SEC Opener with No. 8 LSU
<i> Auburn outfielders Morgan Podany, Victoria Draper and Alyssa Rivera. Photo Credit: Cat Wofford, Auburn Athletics</i>
Auburn outfielders Morgan Podany, Victoria Draper and Alyssa Rivera. Photo Credit: Cat Wofford, Auburn Athletics
March 8, 2018

AUBURN, Ala. – No. 10 Auburn softball is set travel to Baton Rouge, La. this weekend to open SEC play against No. 8 LSU Friday through Sunday at Tiger Park.

The teams begin battle Friday at 6 p.m. CT, which will be broadcasted by SEC Network+. The remaining games will be broadcasted nationally with Saturday’s game available on the SEC Network at 7:30 p.m. CT and Sunday’s game streamed live on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. CT.

The orange and blue Tigers enter the contests at 23-2 after a month of nonconference play. Auburn swept three home tournaments and posted a 3-2 record at the Mary Nutter Classic in Cathedral City, Calif.

16 of the Tigers’ 23 wins have been by way of a shutout, which is already the sixth-most in program history.

Auburn’s hot start can be attributed to first-year head coach Mickey Dean, who picked up his 500th career win last weekend at the Wilson/Demarini Classic. Dean led the Tigers to a 15-0 start before suffering their first setback, becoming the first coach in SEC history to start a season with 15-straight wins in their debut season.

The Tigers have displayed a balanced effort on both offense and defense thus far, posting a .335 batting average and 0.78 ERA.

Starting pitchers Kaylee Carlson (0.60 ERA) and Makayla Martin (1.23 ERA) are a combined 20-1 this season. Carlson is tied for the national lead with 11 wins while Martin checks in 10th nationally at nine wins.

Three Tigers have posted a batting clip of .400 or better with redshirt senior Victoria Draper leading the charge at a phenomenal .550. Draper, the reigning SEC Co-Player of the Week, leads the team in BA, hits (33), runs scored (30) and on base percentage (.671). She has also been a terror on the base paths swiping an eye-popping 29 bases on 31 attempts, which leads the nation.

Draper’s 29 steals are the second-most in a single season program history behind Shannon Anderson’s 33 in 2004. She has single-handedly eclipsed the team’s entire 2017 total of 28.

The LSU Tigers check in with a 19-2 record under head coach Beth Torina. Starting pitcher Carley Hoover should prove to be one of the toughest tests the Auburn batters have faced this season, entering the weekend with a 0.65 ERA and a 7-1 record.

Auburn and LSU have squared off 68 times with LSU holding a 49-19 advantage, including a 20-7 lead at their home field.

AN AUBURN WIN WOULD... » A win by Auburn would give Mickey Dean his first win over an SEC program as Auburn’s head coach and would give the Tigers a 24-2 start for the season.

INSIDE THE SERIES: LSU » Auburn and LSU have met 68 times with LSU holding a 49-19 advantage. Last time the teams met was last season at the SEC Championships on May 13, 2017. Auburn was shutout 6-0 in the contest.

COMFORTABLE WINNING MARGIN » The Tigers are outscoring opponents by a score of 167-26 and rank 10th nationally in scoring average at 6.68 runs per game.

STEALING BASES » As a team, Auburn has already stolen 64 bases this season, which ranks as 2nd nationally and is the 7th-most in school history. The Tigers are averaging 2.56 stolen bases per game, which leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally.



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