By Will Sahlie
AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn head coach Clint Myers put his team back to work this week as the Tigers prepare for the NCAA Tournament, after reaching the SEC Tournament semifinals.
"Very good," Myers said of Auburn's preparation. "We will practice at game time, so we are able to simulate sun, wind and field conditions for the weekend. We are trying to do everything to make it like it will be on Friday."
First baseman Kendall Veach said it has been a bit of a reset for the young Tigers team.
"Practice this week has been crucial to us. We've had a lot of things to work on," Veach said. "It's kind of just refocusing for us. We're ready for a weekend full of challenges."
Auburn, which earned the No. 7 national seed, will host its third-straight regional at Jane B. Moore Field. The Tigers will take on East Tennessee State Friday, with Notre Dame and California rounding out the four-team regional.
All 13 SEC teams earned NCAA Tournament bids with eight of the 13 earning a national top 16 seed. The Tigers finished the regular season ranked No. 6 in the RPI, and Myers believes his team's tough schedule has prepared them for postseason play.
"Look at it this way, our first game was against Oklahoma," Myers said. "For either Oklahoma or us, our last game will be the same thing, that's if both of us take care of business (in the regionals). I'm an optimist, I believe we will. It's about going out and playing the game. That's where we have to excel a little better. Play the game the same way, every single time."
If Auburn were to win its regional, it could possibly have a date with No. 10 seed Oklahoma, which defeated the Tigers in the championship series of the Women's College World Series a year ago. However, sophomore pitcher Makayla Martin says the Tigers are not looking ahead.
"It's going to be tough," Martin said. "I looked at Notre Dame and Cal's schedules and who they played this season. They played good teams and beat good teams. It's not going to be easy. We can't look past it at all. We have to play it game by game and go from there."
Auburn will take on East Tennessee State at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. Notre Dame and Cal will play at 1 p.m.
"These teams coming in are tough teams," Veach said. "They're going to be scrappy and bring their A game. I think it will be a good weekend."