How can you do a "How to Watch" when you don't even know who the opponent is going to be? Well, that's a bit tough to do, obviously, but we're going to try. I'm writing this shortly after Auburn's dramatic come from behind win over UGA in Round 2, so the opponent for Auburn could be one of two teams: Florida State
or Michigan. If you want to watch that game for yourself, it will be played at 1pm Eastern, Noon Central on ESPN. The winner plays Auburn. The loser goes home.
Auburn has already faced the Seminoles this season in a mid-week double-header. That series was split between the two teams.
Michigan, meanwhile, has been on quite a role, winning 24 of their last 26 games. The two losses being to Minnesota in the B1G Tournament and then to Oklahoma - winners of 26 straight - last night.
We now know that the opponent is Florida State! The Seminoles beat Michigan 1-0 in today's elimination game.
I'll be busy at Annual Training today and won't have the chance to write this up once the winner - and, thus, Auburn's opponent - is known, so I'm just going to do a quick stats run down of each team and then the "How to Watch," since the game time, at least, should be set. I'll attempt to update it from my phone if I can once the opponent is known.
Just looking at the stats, I would say the Tigers would much rather play Florida State than Michigan. The good news is that Auburn has two games to win one, so there's margin for error.
UPDATE: That's exactly who Auburn will play! The Tigers will face the Seminoles.
Michigan is another team that relies heavily on one ace with only one other pitcher to really back her up. As you can see from the opponent's batting average and their own ERAs, those pitchers are quite good. The good news for Auburn, though, is that the Wolverines would be coming off a late night last night and an afternoon game today and their players would be a bit more tired. Florida State played in the early game, yesterday, so their players would be a bit more rested than Michigan's. Whether that helps them against the Wolverines remains to be seen. Michigan does have the Softball Player of the Year in Sierra Romero, after all.
Florida State has two very good pitchers that they rely on over their others. They are closely split in reps with 211 and 185 innings pitched between them. They have a pretty respectable team ERA, as well. The Seminoles don't have a single batter over .400 in their batting average and only have two sluggers in Jessica Warren and Maddie O'Brien. They have 19 and 13 home runs respectively. One other Seminole has 9, and those are the only three players above 4 home runs on the team. That bodes well for Auburn who likes to pitch to batters and get them to hit into ground ball outs.
Auburn has already started Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin - although Martin only pitched once through Georgia's lineup before being replaced by Rachel Walters. If I had to guess, I would say Lexi Davis or Marcy Harper may get the start early in the first game, but that's pure guesswork on my part. The Tigers may go straight back to Carlson, who has a few days rest behind her.
As noted before, Auburn has two games to win one. Win tonight, and the Tigers are in the Championship Series. Lose tonight, and a second game will be played tomorrow. This is due to the weather having changed the schedule up. Previously, the semifinals would be a double-header on the same day.
How to Watch:
Time: 7:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm Central
Game 2 (If Necessary)
Time: June 6, 7:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm Central