Seattle, Wash. - The 21st-ranked Auburn softball team hit in the indoor batting cages and went through situation and positional drills on the Husky Softball Field during the team's allotted two-hour practice time Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the BYU Cougars.
Second-seed Auburn (39-17, 15-13 SEC) and third-seed BYU (38-16, 11-2
MWC) will meet in the first round of the NCAA Seattle Regional Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT. The game will be the first of the 2011 NCAA Softball Regionals with the 15 remaining regionals all beginning Friday.
"We are all excited to be here and have the opportunity to play in a great softball setting," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Our team is looking forward to getting things started and we know we have a tremendous challenge in front of us with playing BYU first. They are a good team and have had a very good season. We are going to have to be locked-in and focused on doing all the little things right against them."
The Cougars won their third straight Mountain West Conference championship this season. BYU advanced to the 2010 NCAA Super Regionals last season. JC Clayton led the Cougars this season with a .384 batting average, while Jessica Fitu hit a team-high 12 home runs. Fitu is one of three Cougars with at least 10 homers this season. Paige Affleck led BYU pitchers with a 24-11 record and a 1.97 ERA with 207 strikeouts.
Auburn is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Regional play and eighth overall appearance. Senior Kyndall White has started all nine of Auburn's NCAA games in the previous three seasons. White has a
.323 (10-31) career batting average in NCAA Regionals with two doubles, one home run and four RBI.
Pitcher Jenee Loree leads the Auburn staff with 18.1 innings in regional play and has a 1-0 record with a 1.91 ERA in four career appearances.
Auburn goes into the Seattle Regional having won seven of its last 10 games, including five wins over top 25 teams. Sophomore Kelsey Cartwright has led the Tigers with a .444 (12-27) batting average and five doubles in those 10 games. Senior Kelley Smiley has a team-high nine RBI in the last 10 games and is hitting .419 (13-31). Auburn has out-scored opponents 48-31 in that span and has committed just six errors (.978 fielding percentage) compared to 16 errors by the opposition.
To follow the Tigers in the NCAA Seattle Regional with live video, live stats and radio play-by-play, go to:
Tournament Schedule - All times CENTRAL
Game 1: No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 3 BYU - 5:30 p.m.
Game 2: No. 4 Portland State vs. No. 1 Washington - 8 p.m.
Game 3: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner - 5 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser - 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: Game 4 Winner vs. Game 3 Loser - 10 p.m.
Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner - 4:30 p.m.
Game 7: Game 6 Winner vs. Game 6 Loser (if necessary) - 7 p.m.