AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn softball will head to rival Georgia this weekend with senior shortstop Haley Fagan securely in the lineup. But it will be without a key member of its coaching staff.
The No. 5 Auburn softball team (28-5, 3-3 SEC) opens a three-game series in SEC play on Friday evening against No. 18 Georgia (27-7, 2-4 SEC) after what has been a headline-making few days for the Tigers.
Fagan will not miss any time following her postgame incident with Florida head coach Tim Walton on Monday night. The Tigers, though, will play their first game without associate head coach Corey Myers, who abruptly resigned Thursday night.
The Myers news came a few days after Auburn avoided a sweep against No. 2 Florida with a 1-0 win in Gainesville — its first there in more than a decade. Myers was Auburn’s pitching coach, and the Tigers aces will be without their experienced instructor Friday evening.
Heading into the series, head coach Clint Myers’ biggest concern was undoubtedly the Auburn offense. The Tigers only had two hits in game two of the Florida series, a 7-0 loss. Auburn has been shutout twice in its first six games of SEC play.
“I think we’ve been playing OK, we’re just hitting terribly,” Myers said Thursday. “You look at (starting pitcher Makalya Martin), she hasn’t gotten a run scored for her in two weekends. We’ve got to swing the bats better. …We’re a better hitting team than what we have been.”
While lackluster offense highlighted the second and third game of the series, Auburn lost the opener against Florida after a pair of two-out defensive mistakes in the final inning. The Tigers lead the nation in double plays turned, but they also have committed the most errors of any team in SEC play.
Auburn needs better defensive execution, especially against Georgia. The speedy Bulldogs have stolen 87 bases this season — a whopping 74 more than the Tigers. Georgia has 13 triples and a .364 team batting average to its name as well.
“If there was a reason that we could identify and ask why (defensive errors are) happening, we would fix it,” Myers said. “But we have saying. Stuff happens, and it really depends on what you do with the stuff that counts. We’ve got to move on. We’ve got to keep going. We’ll see what ball club shows up against Georgia.”
According to first baseman Kendall Veach, Auburn was hard at work on its offensive and defensive woes in practice this week. The sophomore, whose solo home run was the lone run in Auburn’s 1-0 win against Florida on Monday, likes what she’s seen from the Tigers in preparation for Georgia.
“We just need to stay more focused,” Veach said. “We’ve kind of drifted away, but this week at practice, we’ve been really making huge adjustments. I think we’re going to come out this weekend and really perform.”
Projected Auburn softball lineup vs. Georgia
Projected Auburn starting pitchers vs. Georgia
- Game 1: Kaylee Carlson, junior (16-1, 0.94 ERA, 66 K, 25 BB and .191 batting average)
- Game 2: Makayla Martin, sophomore (12-4, 1.32 ERA, 73 K, 26 BB and .192 batting average)
- Game 3: Kaylee Carlson, junior
Auburn softball vs. Georgia game times, TV, how to watch online
Game 1 (Friday): 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (SEC Network+)
Game 2 (Saturday): 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (ESPN)
Game 3 (Sunday): Noon ET/11 a.m. ET (SEC Network)
Location: Jack Turner Stadium; Athens, Ga.
How to watch online: ESPN, SEC Network and SEC Network+ on WatchESPN
Broadcast team: Beth Mowins (play-by-play), Michele Smith and Amanda Scarborough (analysts)
Live stats: Stat Broadcast
Radio: Locally 95.9 FM; online at AuburnTigers.com