With the excitement of the basketball team’s run to the Final Four, and the spring wherein Auburn’s football team is searching for a new quarterback, we haven’t devoted much time to the softball team. They begin postseason play today in College Station at the 2019 SEC Softball Tournament.
Auburn will begin their road as the 10-seed against 7-seed Missouri today at 3 pm CST, with the winner earning a date with 2-seed Tennessee tomorrow at 1:30 pm CST. The Tigers finished the regular season at 35-18, but only won a single SEC game out of their final three series. That victory came against Florida, and was sandwiched between sweeps by Kentucky and Arkansas.
After the multiple runs to the Women’s College World Series a few seasons ago, and the coaching change to Mickey Dean, Auburn has become a different type of softball squad, and the group has primarily taken a dip in offensive power. In the series loss to the Razorbacks, Auburn reached new lows offensively, and is hitting just .144 in the last eleven conference games overall. They haven’t earned a walk in the last four games, either, and have scored just nine runs over the last nine games.
If Auburn can get by Missouri today, they would face a Tennessee team that they took a series from earlier in the year, however there’s still uncertainty about Makayla Martin’s outlook as the pitcher battles back from injury.
As for the rest of the tournament, the host team Texas A&M plays shortly in a play-in game against Mississippi State, The winner of that game will take on Ole Miss tomorrow night. The rest of the top four seeds are 1-seed Alabama (50-6 regular season), 2-seed Tennessee (39-13 regular season), 3-seed LSU (40-15 regular season), and 4-seed Kentucky (32-21 regular season). Every SEC team is in the top 45 of the RPI standings, with Auburn coming in at #21. The Tigers are currently projected to be the 2-seed at the Stillwater Regional in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Last season in Columbia, Missouri, Auburn fell to Alabama in the first game they played, losing 6-4 to be eliminated.