No. 22 Auburn Set For Weekend Showdown With No. 4 Tennessee


No. 22 Auburn Set For Weekend Showdown With No. 4 Tennessee

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April 8, 2005

05Action - Sara Dean_40405

 Sara Dean

AUBURN - Less than a week after sporting a two-out, come-from-behind victory over Mississippi State, the 22nd-ranked Auburn softball team comes back to Jane B. Moore Field for a three-game weekend series against No. 4 Tennessee.

The Tigers (36-10 overall, 10-4 Southeastern Conference) enter the weekend second in the Western Division. The Lady Volunteers, meanwhile, are second in the Eastern Division, trailing only Georgia. Tennessee is
43-5 overall this season with an 11-2 mark in conference play.

"This will be a big series," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Tennessee has gotten off to a great start this season and that's not by accident. We are playing well, too, and the series is going to be two talented teams meeting in three important SEC games."

Holly Currie, who was recently named as one of 25 finalists for USA Softball's Collegiate Player of the Year, hit a two-out, two-run home run over Mississippi State Sunday in Starkville for Auburn's 6-4 victory. The Tigers took two of three games over the Bulldogs after scoring three runs in the seventh inning in the final game of the

Sara Dean was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday after three games against the Bulldogs and two other non-conference opponents last week. She was 6-for-14 with one double, two triples, two home runs and
five RBI in five games.

But now Dean returns to the comfy confines of Jane B. Moore Field, where she is batting .333 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 19 games this season. The Tigers are 17-2 at home and are batting a healthy .364
as a team with 20 home runs and 42 doubles.

"We've really played well at home this season," Deese said. "That's key in SEC play, where you have to defend your home field. There are no easy games in the conference and you need to make sure you play up to your ability when you have most of the fans on your side."

Beth DiPietro has been one such player to take advantage of stepping on the friendly field. The sophomore has not lost in 13 appearances at Jane B. Moore Field this season, going 7-0 with a 0.95 ERA in 51 1/3 innings.

Tennessee, meanwhile, is coming off a doubleheader sweep of Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. The Lady Volunteers, ranked fourth in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and fifth in the Softball Top 25, have
won their last five games and nine of 10. Their only losses in conference play have come to Kentucky, 2-1 on March 29, and Alabama, 8-1 on March 13.

The Tigers and Lady 'Vols have an all-time series record that is tied at 11. Tennessee took 2-of-3 last season, with Auburn winning, 6-1, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Twenty-second ranked Auburn and No. 4 Tennessee will square off in a doubleheader Saturday, beginning at 12 p.m. CT Saturday at Jane B. Moore Field. The teams will end the series with a single game Sunday at 12 p.m.

The first 250 fans Saturday will receive a pack of Auburn trading cards, featuring the Tigers. It is the third set of four. Sunday will provide fans a chance to purchase 50 cent hot dogs at the Jane B. Moore Field concession stand.

For those not able to make it out to the park, catch the games live on the Internet at Click on the live stats and live audio links for full game coverage. The game can also be caught on the radio at WANI-AM (1400).