Auburn Begins Run for Third-Straight SEC Tournament Championship Thursday
Kasey Cooper (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)
#7 Auburn Softball (45-9) begins their run for a third straight SEC Tournament championship Thursday in Knoxville, Tennessee. Their first draw is a tough one, as the Tigers will play #18 Kentucky (36-16) at 4 P.M. central. Auburn enters the tournament as the 2-seed in the tournament, after taking two of three from Alabama, and Tennessee taking two of three from Texas A&M over the weekend. Due to the top-4 seeding, Auburn was awarded a free pass to the second round of the tournament. Auburn’s Thursday opponent, 7-seed Kentucky, defeated 10-seed South Carolina on Wednesday, 7-3. Abbey Cheek hit two home runs, both were two-run shots. Cheek accounted for four of Kentucky’s seven RBI. South Carolina made a late push, by hitting two solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but the Gamecocks both left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh inning, giving Kentucky the win. This will be the first time that Auburn and Kentucky have met on the softball field this season. Last season, Auburn traveled to Lexington and swept the series. What would it mean for Auburn to win their third consecutive SEC tournament crown? History has given senior Kasey Cooper mixed feelings. “It’s never happened in the SEC that someone has three-peated the tournament. But, it’s also it’s never happened that someone won the SEC Tournament and won a National Championship, says Cooper. “We are up for the real prize (national title), but also, it would be cool if we could do both.” Coach Clint Myers feels that a tournament championship would provide enough momentum to help Auburn make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. “That would be something that would be very special. First, it’s never been done. Two, it would also make a statement that we are a team that has a chance to win the national championship.” Myers feels that his team can make conference history, citing last weekend’s series win at Alabama. “We were outhit, and we still won. Why? Because the fact that we finally got some timely hitting and did some things right. We played great defense, and we had phenomenal pitching. If we can carry all of those into the SEC, it’ll be us and Florida on Saturday night.” 2-seed Auburn opens their run in the SEC Tournament on Thursday against 7-seed Kentucky at 4 P.M. central in Knoxville, Tennessee.