The last time Auburn faced UCLA in softball was an elimination game to see who would reach the semi-final round. That game had numerous swings back and forth and ended with a walk-off walk in the 10th inning for an Auburn victory.
Tomorrow, the two teams will face each other once again in each school's first game of the 2016 Women's College World Series.
The Bruins are coming off an upset victory in the Eugene Super Regional over rival Oregon. After losing Game 1, UCLA won two in a row - just like Auburn over Arizona - to advance to the Women's College World Series.
UCLA finished 2nd in the Pac12 this season, a league in which they are perennially dominant. UCLA has more national championships in Softball than any other school. The 12th seeded Bruins may not be quite as good as most seasons this year, but they and their coaches are used to the College World Series spotlight.
Auburn is making only their second trip in school history to Oklahoma City. It is also the second season in a row. Not feeling awed at just being there as they were last season is something that the Tigers - winners of the 2016 SEC Tournament for the second season in a row - hope will be a big boost.
Auburn's offensive numbers dropped a bit after last weekend's Super Regional, but the Tigers still look very good. The pitching numbers improved against a very impressive Arizona team. From looking at the stats above, it would definitely appear that Auburn has the advantage in this one, as you would expect in a match-up between the #4 and #12 teams.
UCLA relies primarily on two pitchers, Johanna Grauer and Selina Ta'amilo, who have almost split the number of innings pitched this season. They do have a third pitcher, Paige McDuffee, as well. At the plate, they can definitely put runners across. Their opponent's ERA shows just how good they are at getting runs. They're led by Alexis Bennett, who has a .412 average. She's a slapper, as are many of UCLA's batters. They do have three sluggers on the team, though, who have hit 13, 17, and 13 home runs.
Auburn has a staff of five pitchers the Tigers rely on, but Kaylee Carlson, Makayla Martin, and Rachel Walters have gotten the majority of the innings this season. Lexi Davis and Marcy Harper are formidable pitchers in their own right. The batters are, of course, led by Kasey Cooper and Emily Carosone. Cooper is batting .425 and leads the team with 19 home runs. Carosone is hitting .405 and has hit 12 home runs. Auburn is one of the better teams in the country - they were 2nd in the nation prior to the NCAA Tournament - at scoring runs, and runs will be at a premium in this one.
How to Watch
Auburn and UCLA will be Session #2 tomorrow in Oklahoma City. Session #1 will feature #8 Florida State vs #16 UGA. The winner of Session #1 will face the winner of Session #2 Friday at 7pm Eastern. The losers of each game will play Saturday, June 4th at noon Eastern.
Time: 2:30 Eastern, 1:30 Central
For coverage of the whole bracket and Auburn's NCAA Tournament to date, check out our Story Stream containing everything we've covered on the 2016 postseason.