AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn softball will tweak its starting lineup at least once heading into its host regional this weekend against Cal, Notre Dame and ETSU.
Sophomore Casey McCrackin will start at second base this weekend, according to coach Clint Myers. She will replace freshman KK Crocker, who started eight of Auburn’s last 11 games at second.
Auburn’s second base and left field starting jobs have rotated constantly throughout SEC play. Myers knows what he’ll do at second for the start of the NCAA Tournament but not left field.
“McCrackin will play second,” Myers said Tuesday afternoon. “(Left field) is still up in the air.”
McCrackin has started 37 games at second base in 2017, with Crocker starting 14 — most of them in the second half of the season. McCrackin batted just .103 in conference play this season but was a more consistent player defensively.
Crocker committed three errors last Saturday in Auburn’s shutout loss to LSU in the SEC Tournament semifinals.
“We’ve got to play better defense,” Myers said. “You can’t afford to have that. I’m not saying KK would have that. It’s just that she’s young, she’s really young. (The LSU game) was kind of a bad day for her.”
Crocker batted .213 in the regular season as a slap-hitting specialist. Myers said the Tigers could still use her abilities at the plate in regional play this weekend.
“This way, we can have her as a pinch hitter,” Myers said. “We can always put her back in. But McCrackin will start at second.”
In left field, Auburn primarily uses both sophomore Morgan Podany and freshman Carmyn Greenwood. Podany started the SEC quarterfinal against Kentucky, but Greenwood started the semifinal against LSU.
While Podany had the better overall batting average at .212 in the regular season, she hit just .154 in SEC play. Greenwood batted .192 across the regular season and .194 against conference opponents.
Myers said the No. 7-seed Tigers could have as many as five options in left field this weekend.
The veteran head coach is still looking for a player to separate herself in practice between now and the Friday opener against ETSU (4:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU).
“If they’ve got Auburn across their chest, it’s a possibility,” Myers said.