Auburn Softball Begins NCAA Regionals—Tiger Baseball Destination May Be Determined This Weekend
Auburn coach Butch Thompson has to get the Auburn baseball team refocused after the Tigers dropped their last four games (photo: Auburn Media file)
The Southeastern Conference is known nationally as a powerhouse football conference, however, the SEC is also one of the toughest softball leagues in the nation. Proof of that came Sunday when for the second straight year the SEC placed all 13 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Yet, for the first time in four years, Auburn (40–15) will not be hosting an NCAA regional. The slight by the selection committee was surprising since the Tigers have wins over four of the 16 national seeds, including Kentucky, a team the Tigers swept during the regular season.
Auburn will have to travel this weekend to the Tallahassee Regional where the No. 15 Tigers will open against Kennesaw State, a team they defeated 2–1 during the regular season.
Just two weesk ago, the Tigers looked like a lock to host, but apparently the committee was more impressed with the way they ended the SEC season, being swept by Texas A&M, than with their full body of work.
If finishing strong is is a precursor for hosting a regional, then the Auburn baseball team put itself in a precarious position over the last week. The No. 22 Tigers were swept at Ole Miss and thumped 9–5 by Troy in a rain-delayed game last night. Auburn had been on a roll going 9–2 the two weeks before the Ole Miss road trip.
Last week Auburn had a chance to put itself in a position to win the SEC West, now it needs a strong finish in this last weekend of the season plus a good showing in the SEC Tournament next week to have a narrow chance at hosting an NCAA regional. Their last opportunity to impress the selection committee begins Thursday when the Tigers host LSU at Plainsman Park.
Here’s to hoping the Orange and Blue Tigers come away with a sweep of the Bengals.
Auburn softball’s first regional game will be broadcast on ESPN3 this Friday at 11 a.m. CT. And the first pitch of baseball’s final SEC series against LSU can be watched on ESPNU on Thursday at 6 p.m. Central.