After almost a month on the road that involved a few issues and distractions while also playing some very tough teams, the Tigers return to Jane B. Moore Field to face the Ole Miss Rebels tonight.
Auburn's road trip involved a perfect game from Kaylee Carlson against Ohio State, a controversial call and then some defensive mistakes in Game 1 against Florida, the Haley Fagan "shove" incident after Game 3, and then assistant coach Corey Myers leaving the Auburn program before the Georgia series. Even with all of that, they should have won the Florida series and then swept UGA for the first time in Athens.
The last three SEC series have been against teams who made last year's Women's College World Series. Now they face the Rebels, who started the season hot but have gone 2-7 in conference play, so far. They were swept by Texas A&M and Tennessee before finally taking a series against #16 Kentucky at home last weekend.
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Their lead hitter is Elantra Cox who is hitting a whopping .484. Judging by her stats - no home runs and just a few doubles and triples, I'm guessing she's a slapper along the lines of Auburn's Victoria Draper. They use three pitchers fairly regularly. None of the three are a match for Carlson and Makayla Martin, though.
For Auburn, the leading hitter is tiny little Carlee Wallace, who was the SEC Player of the Week last week for her hitting performance in Athens. She's hitting .382 on the season with 6 home runs and 15 extra-base hits. Victoria Draper and Haley Fagan follow behind her, along with Kendall Veach who leads the team in home runs with 10.
The surprising thing for Auburn's hitters this season is the slump that Kasey Cooper has been in. She was held hitless last weekend in Athens and is only batting .265 on the season. If she can ever get out of that slump and getting back to her usual slugging ways, then this team just becomes ever more dangerous.
In the race for national seedings and ensuring that you host a Super Regional, every SEC series matters. Auburn is currently #3 in the RPI and have a few weeks against relatively weaker teams coming up to help build their resume even more. It becomes very important that they don't drop one of those series, though. You definitely can't drop one like this at home against Ole Miss. This is a series Auburn should be aiming for the sweep and be disappointed.
Game 1: 6:00 pm Central, WatchESPN
Game 2: 3:00 pm Central, ESPNU / WatchESPN
Game 3: 1:00 pm Central, ESPNU / WatchESPN