March 20, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. - After a weekend break to finish out its non-conference tournament schedule that resulted in four wins in the War Eagle Classic and then two more victories last night against Murray State, the No. 21 Auburn Tiger softball team gets back to conference play this week to host Mississippi State at Jane B. Moore Field.
Friday's game with the Bulldogs is set for a 6 p.m. start, while Saturday and Sunday's games will have first pitch at 1 p.m. Fans can follow the live stats for all three games by accessing the softball schedule page. There, they can also find the link for the live video stream that includes the audio broadcast which can be heard in Auburn on WEGL 91.1.
At Friday's game, the first 100 students will receive a neon All Auburn, All Orange t-shirt. All students will receive double Ignited points for attending. The first 500 fans into tomorrow's game will also receive an orange shaker and the first 250 fans will receive an orange glow necklace.
This weekend is an Auburn University faculty/staff weekend. All AU faculty/staff that show their ID will receive a buy one, get one ticket special. After the game, the Auburn Tigers will stick around to sign autographs in the outfield.
In the circle, Auburn brings back sophomores Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper, who are coming off a strong weekend of three-no-hitters and then two more strong outings last night against Murray State. On Wednesday, Davis picked up the shutout win in game one, going four innings and only allowing three hits and two walks. Harper struggled in the game two start, but was able to get some help from her teammates at the plate and Davis, who came back in relief to record her 12th win of the year.
The Tigers enter this weekend's series on a nine-game winning streak and victors in 13 of their last 14. Last night against the Racers, The team started its Wednesday off perfectly with its sixth-straight run-rule victory, a 10-0 win, but needed late-inning homers from freshmen Kasey Cooper and Jenna Abbott to defeat the Racers in game two, 11-7, to move to 26-4-1 on the year.
After a shutout pitching performance from sophomore Lexi Davis in game one, Auburn had to provide a little more run support in game two, falling behind 7-4 going into the home half of the fifth inning. In the fifth with a runner on, Abbott hit her fourth home run of the year right over the right-center field wall to cut the MSU lead to 7-6. For Abbott, Wednesday's home run was her first long ball since hitting one against Florida State, breaking a 12-game streak without a home run.
In the next inning, Auburn took the lead for good, scoring five runs in its final offensive frame. Redshirt junior Morgan Estell hit the game-tying RBI double with one out and then Cooper corked her ninth home run of the year to straight-away centerfield giving Auburn the 11-7 lead and the win. Cooper's home run total continues to lead the team as she went 2-for-6 (.333) in Wednesday's games and now has 46 RBI on the season to tie for the team-lead with junior Branndi Melero.
Earlier in the week, Auburn rose in both national polls to No. 21 in the country. The ranking is still Auburn's second-highest since 2012, but gives the Tigers the opportunity to play its first SEC series with the national ranking this weekend against Mississippi State. Last week, Auburn was ranked No. 24 in the NFCA/Coaches' Poll and No. 25 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll.
Cooper has continued to pace the Auburn offense going into Friday's game. After hitting her home run last night, she continues to lead the team in the category and now holds the Auburn freshman record for home runs in a season, last set by Tatiana Fernandez in 2006. Cooper already took the RBI record from Fernandez last week and has continued to build on it as she now has 46 RBI on the year, tied with junior Branndi Melero, who has the led the conference in RBI for the last three weeks.
Redshirt junior Morgan Estell has picked up the pace offensively as well as she totaled four hits over the course of Wednesday's double-header and has tallied at least one hit in her last six games. Over those six games, Estell has 12 hits, which is best on the squad over that span. Estell is currently batting .393, fourth-best on the team, but still leads the way in extra-base hits as she has 14 doubles and four home runs, being the only Tiger with 10 or more doubles this season.
Friday's game with Mississippi State is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Jane B. Moore Field, while Saturday and Sunday's games will have first pitch at 1 p.m.
All Auburn games can be heard locally on WEGL 91.1 or online at AuburnTigers.com. Live video and live stats will also be available on AuburnTigers.com.
All home games at Jane B. Moore Field this year will require a purchased ticket unless otherwise specified. All ticket information can be found here on AuburnTigers.com.
For more information on Auburn softball, visit AuburnTigers.com, follow the team on Twitter @AuburnTigersSB or follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuburnSB.