Auburn's Clint Myers has a smile for Emily Carosone with trainer Lana Meeks
|Auburn Softball:NCAA Softball Auburn Super Regional|
|Matchup||No. 4/4 Auburn (52-9, 18-6 SEC) vs. No. 11/11 UL-Lafayette (42-10)| Game Notes|
|Tournament Cent.||2015 NCAA Softball Auburn Super Regional Central | Bracket|
|Dates and Times||Friday, May 22, 2015 | 1 p.m. - ESPNU| Live Stats| Live Audio|
|Saturday, May 23, 2015 |11 a.m. - ESPN | Live Stats| Live Audio|
|Saturday, May 23, 2015 (if necessary) | 2 p.m. - ESPN | Live Stats | Live Audio|
|Location||Jane B. Moore Field (1,500)| Auburn, Ala.|
|Tickets||SOLD OUT| AUBtix.com|
|Broadcasts||TV: ESPNU (Friday); ESPN (Saturday)| Radio: AuburnTigers.com|
|Online||Live Stats| WatchESPN.com| Twitter: @Auburn_Softball|
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Shortstop Haley Fagan was still laughing at her coach, recalling how he lip-synched a song at the AUSPYs awards show, remembering how he came out of nowhere, or at least from backstage, to beat Bruce Pearl and Karen Hoppa to win that somewhat-dubious championship.
"We were like, 'Who's this?' Then we saw the orange jacket and jumped up from our table and starting screaming. We're very proud of him," Fagan said.
Clint Myers, coach and the head of this Auburn softball family, will lead his Tigers into their first Super Regional against Louisiana-Lafayette at 1 p.m. Friday at Jane B. Moore Field. The Ragin' Cajuns are old hands at this. Auburn is a Super Regional rookie.
Myers is trying to keep the Tigers loose between the seriousness of practice and the fun of college athletics, between the chance of hitting a home run and the potential of catcher Carlee Wallace playing this weekend after a home-plate collision knocked her out of the last game.
"She gets to practice today and depending on how she feels at the end of the day and tomorrow morning, the final decision. She's her typical annoying herself," Myers joked, "so I think she's doing well."
Auburn has a school-record 52 wins, and have had a good time getting there.
"That's how we always are," Fagan said. "We like to have fun at practice, in the locker room all the time. That's just how we are and I think Coach letting us be like that kind of helps us relax and stuff. Being at home definitely is a good thing, but, yeah, we're always having fun."
It's more than fun. It's the practices that stress discipline, and that can be seen in Auburn's defense the last two seasons. It's the willingness to play matchups with is pitchers. It's a team that can play long ball.
Auburn, at 53-9, will find a team that knows its way around the NCAA Tournament. Lafayette, which is 42-10, leads the NCAA in home runs, will be appearing in its sixth Super Regional in the last eight years and played in the College World Series last season.
That sounds serious. Auburn and Myers will consider that while looking to keep his Tigers loose.
"Yeah, we like to push his buttons but not too hard," said first baseman Jade Rhodes. "We like to push him to the extent where he knows he's not going to get too mad. We like to mess with him all the time."
"No comment," joked Myers.
But it's been Auburn's drive that had him talking Thursday.
"They are a great bunch of ladies. I'm very proud of what we've done, I know we can do more," Myers said. "I told them you need to enjoy the moment. You need to be able to experience all of the things that lie ahead of them, because it's so special having the opportunity to experience it. It's still special each time I go back and you go back with a new club doing something like this, it's going to be extra special."
This Auburn team has been practicing for this moment since... last fall during the exhibition season, and Myers has talked about Auburn playing for a spot in the College World Series all year.
"The kids have been preparing all week for this," he said. "It's going to be very good softball, two very good teams."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine