Auburn Softball Notebook - March 11

March 11, 2014

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Overall Record: 19-4-1

Previous Results:
March 7 - vs. No. 24 LSU - L, 4-1
March 8 - vs. No. 24 LSU - W, 6-4
March 9 - vs. No. 24 LSU - W, 7-0

This Week's Schedule (Home): Non-Conference, War Eagle Classic
Wednesday, March 12: Troy - 6 p.m.
Friday, March 14: Radford - 5:30 p.m.
Friday, March 14: IPFW - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 15: Savannah State - 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 15: Ball State - 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 16: Alabama A&M - 1 p.m.

Weekend's Promotions



Head coach Clint Myers on his team's 2-1 SEC opening series win over No. 24 LSU:
"It was an exciting weekend for us. I'm very pleased with a lot of different things, but for the game on Sunday, for those that were there, it was a phenomenal game. I've been coaching for 40 years and there were ESPN highlights all through that game. Branndi's (Melero) catch in right-center field. The play that Jade made to end the game. The double plays turned. The backhand and throw that Kelsey (Bogaards) made. It was just one right after another, so it was a great day of defense."

Head coach Clint Myers on Lexi Davis and the Auburn defense:
"Lexi pitched phenomenal. It's a formula that we talk about all the time. We got great pitching, great defense and timely hitting. We're going to work on our offense a little bit. We talk about it all the time, about not giving your opponent an extra opportunity. Lexi didn't walk a single person, we didn't make a single error and we turned four double plays. That's phenomenal."

Head coach Clint Myers on the team's surprising play to start the year:
"To see the excitement in the dugout, not just from the players, but from the coaches also. We were just shaking our heads saying `Wow.' We talk about this stuff all the time and for a team full of freshmen, to do the things they're doing, we were just extremely proud. It was a good weekend because we talked about when we lost the first game, we still had a chance to win the series. We gave them a little formula of what we had to do. Scoring first in the first inning of the third game sent a statement that this is a different ball club. We weren't going to be held to just one run like Friday night off this same pitcher. Much better approaches, we just have to have the outcomes become a little better."

Head coach Clint Myers on Kasey Cooper winning the SEC Freshman of the Week Award:
"We didn't know whether she was going to be a pitcher or a hitter when she first came in. She's unusual because she uses a split grip. It makes things a little bit different with what you have to do. When she's on time, she's phenomenal. Her timing has started to get so much better. We spent a lot of time in the fall talking about getting to certain places at certain times. If it's an off-speed pitch, you need to make sure your hands are back. She has worked so hard to recognize pitches and to stay within. She's a good example of not trying to do more than you're capable. She goes up there, tries to take the same swing on every pitch. She's extremely intelligent, knows how to play the game and works extremely hard."

Branndi Melero - RF - Jr. - Canyon Country, Calif.

-- Batted .286 through the first weekend of SEC play, hitting two home runs and tallying six RBI. Her RBI total for the year is now up to 37 to continue to lead the conference and is batting .391, good for second on the team. After going 0-for-3 in Friday's loss to No. 24 LSU, Melero went 2-for-4 the rest of the weekend, hitting two home runs. Her homer in the third inning of Saturday's game came up big for her team as it re-took the 3-2 lead, the final lead change of the game. On Sunday, Melero came up big, again, launching her sixth home run of the year in the first inning to give Auburn the early 3-0 lead. The offensive jumpstart propelled the Auburn offense to score four more runs in the game, en route to a 7-0 victory.  

Lexi Davis - P - So. - Charlotte, N.C.  

--Picked up the series clinching win over No. 24 LSU on Sunday, improving her record to 9-4 with a 1.53 ERA, good for tops on the team. Also, pitched the final two innings in Saturday's 6-4 win, relieving starter Marcy Harper, to close her second game this season. Davis has racked up 74 strikeouts already this year, which is good for fifth-best in the conference. She also has 10 complete games to her name and four shutouts.  

Kasey Cooper - 3B - So. - Dothan, Ala.

-- Went 4-for10 (.400) against No. 24 LSU over the weekend, batting in five runs and hitting two home runs with two walks. Cooper continues to lead the team in average (.409) and hits (27). She is also tied for the team-lead in home runs (6) and second to conference-leader Branndi Melero in RBI (30). After going hitless in Auburn's only loss on the weekend, Cooper came back on Saturday to go 2-for-4, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning that was the difference maker in the 6-4 victory over LSU. On Sunday, Cooper went 2-for-3 (.667) with one walk and another home run. The two-run home run was the final two runs scored in the 7-0 victory over LSU. Cooper was instrumental in helping Auburn win its first three-game series over LSU since 2005 and its first SEC opening series victory since 2011. She is currently two home runs away from the Auburn freshman season record (8) and only 11 RBI away from that Auburn freshman record as well (41).

TIGERS TO PLAY ON NATIONAL TELEVISION THREE TIMES IN 2014: The Auburn softball team will play in three nationally-televised games in 2014. The Tigers will have two games on the ESPN family of networks and one on the Fox Sports Network. Auburn's first appearance will be in its first game of the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic when it takes on Oregon at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla. First pitch for that game is scheduled for 11 a.m. eastern on Feb. 28 and will be seen on ESPN3.com. The team's second appearance, coming on ESPNU, will be when head coach Clint Myers takes his team to Gainesville, Fla., to face the SEC coaches' preseason favorite Florida Gators on Saturday, April 5. The game is slated for a 5 p.m. central start and will be the second of a three-game series. Auburn's lone home television appearance will be the next week against Missouri on Saturday, April 12 with first pitch at Jane B. Moore Field scheduled for 1 p.m. With these three games, Auburn will have appeared on national television 27 times since 2010.

AUBURN BACK IN THE POLLS: After being ranked for the first time since 2012 at No. 25 and then dropping from the national polls last week, the Auburn Tigers are back on the national scene, ranked No. 24 in the latest NFCA/Coaches' poll. The Tigers are fresh off a 2-1 series victory over No. 24 LSU and are 19-4-1 on the 2014 season. This week is the second time Auburn has been ranked nationally and second of the last three weeks. Auburn also found the rankings in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll this week, coming in at No. 23. This week is the team's first in that specific poll and highest ranking of the year.

MELERO BRINGS THEM HOME
Junior Branndi Melero has 37 RBI this season, which not only leads the team, but also the conference. With the newest national rankings out this week, the junior ranks fifth in the nation in RBI per game (1.54). Melero has led the league in the category for the last three weeks and will hope to continue that trend into this weekend's non-conference games. Melero currently leads the team with 13 multi-RBI games, including two five RBI games. (vs. Marshall and Jacksonville State). Last week against LSU, Melero brought around six runs, including four in Sunday's 7-0 win.

COOPER WINS FIRST SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK AWARD: Freshman infielder Kasey Cooper was named the Southeastern Conference's softball Freshman Of the Week on Monday. Cooper, a Dothan, Ala., native, was instrumental over the weekend in helping Auburn win its three-game series over No. 24 LSU with wins on Saturday (6-4) and Sunday (7-0). The series win is Auburn's first SEC opening series victory since 2011 and first three-game series win over LSU since 2005. The weekly honor win for Cooper is the first SEC Freshman of the Week for an Auburn player since Jenee Loree won it in 2009.

TIGERS MAKE SPLASH IN NATIONAL STATISTICAL RANKINGS: As most of the country has entered conference play, the first NCAA statistical rankings were released this week and Auburn has a firm placement in many of its categories. Out of the 11 team categories, Auburn is in the top-10 in three of those categories. Going into Wednesday's game with Troy, the Tigers are fifth in the nation in scoring (7.83) and ninth in both double plays per game (0.58) and home runs per game (1.29). Its double-play percentage is good for best in the SEC and its home runs are second-best.