Postseason is About Playing the Best Teams
On February 6, 2014, The Auburn Tigers Softball Team was trailing Troy 5-2 when McKenzie Kilpatrick hit a 3-run homer and Emily Carosone drove in what appeared to be the go ahead run to take a 6-5 lead in the seventh inning.
The Tigers seem to be in control and on their way to giving Clint Meyers, a victory in his debut as the Tigers new Head Coach. However, the weather stepped in and iced the rally as rain and sleet caused the game to be called. Under the rules, the score reverted back to the last completed inning. That meant the game went down as a 5-5 tie.
If it were not for that inclement weather the Tigers would have had 40 wins this season and most likely be hosting an NCAA Regional. As it is, Auburn drew the second seed in the Minnesota Regional which begins this Friday in Minneapolis.
The good news is that Clint Meyers has got the Tigers back in the NCAA Tournament again after Auburn failed to make the field in 2012. The not so good news is that should the Tigers win their Regional, they will be in the Super Regional with overall No.1 seed Oregon.
And that’s okay with Coach Meyers. While he admitted Sunday night that it would be better to be on the other side of the bracket, he said, “We’re playing against some very talented, very athletic teams.” But he added playing the best teams is what the postseason is all about.
If that’s true, the Tigers should be in good shape since they have already played against some of the best teams in the nation during the regular season. Auburn has an RPI of 15 having faced 31 NCAA Tournament Teams. Included on that list is Friday night’s opponent North Dakota State.
The Bison are a power hitting team and are coming off a season where they’ve won 10 of their last 11 games. However, The Tigers defeated the Bison 11-3 in the second game of the season. And Auburn has a power line up itself having hit a school record 79 homeruns this season while leading the SEC in runs scored.
Senior Branndi Melero leads the nation with 76 RBI’s and a .411 batting average. Close on her heals is Freshman Kasey Cooper who is batting .410 and is the team leader in homeruns (16). And then there is Emily Carosone who is batting .408 with 9 homers.
The Tigers have a couple of other reasons that may give them a chance at going deep in the tournament:
For one, they are a very good defensive team. Auburn hardly ever makes an error and sits a top of the stats in fielding with a .981 team fielding percentage. Secondly, the Tigers are being led into the tournament by a guy who knows how to prepare a team for NCAA Tournament play.
Coach Meyers’ previous team played in eight NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the Women’s College World Series seven times including winning two national titles. “The postseason is about playing the best teams,” Meyers said. “We won’t make any excuses (but) we can play with anybody when we do the things we’re capable of.”
Go Tigers Beat the Bison!
The Minnesota Regional is made up of Auburn, UW-Green Bay, and No. 16 seed Minnesota. The Tigers play North Dakota State on Friday in its opening game.