Branndi Melero is off and running in Auburn's powerful lineup
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Branndi Melero just had to join the hitting fun, and the Southeastern Conference took notice. She was named the SEC co-Player of the Week Award for her exploits last week, and was drafted by the National Pro Fastpitch League for good measure.
Now Melero, a driving offensive force in Auburn's turnaround last season, will be looking for more when the Tigers, who are first in the SEC and ranked sixth nationally, meet Texas A&M in a weekend series beginning at 6:30 tonight in College Station.
"We have a team this year that's capable of going all the way," Melero says. "I'm just grateful be on this team, knowing we're on top going into the next series No. 1 in the SEC."
Auburn is 38-5 overall and 10-2 in the SEC. Next week will bring the Tigers back to the state, first for a game at Samford on Wednesday, then for what promises to be a Top 10 battle against Alabama next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Those games are already sold out.
First up, though, is No. 23 Texas A&M, which is 31-10 overall and 7-5 in the league.
"They're a World Series-type team," said Auburn coach Clint Myers.
Auburn is playing like one, too, especially an offense that leads the nation with 82 home runs. The Tigers lead the SEC in seven offensive categories.
Oh, and Tiffany Howard has reached base in all 43 games.
Melero won her first SEC honor by going 6-for-9 last weekend, including the go-ahead homer in Sunday's win over Tennessee.
Myers said that's just another step on the way to a bigger goal.
"Individual honors are nice for the girls, but the honor we want is at the end of the season, holding a trophy over our head," he said. "But Branndi was well deserving, she had a great weekend, she's had many great weekends."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine