The Tigers won 58 games last year, churning into the Women’s College World Series final against Oklahoma and just coming up short, losing the deciding Game 3 by a 2-1 score. Auburn will tackle 2017 with a young team, featuring just four seniors and only one with significant experience, but six starters are back. Head coach Clint Myers is entering his fourth year at Auburn; he’s averaging 52 victories per season.
That key senior, infielder Kasey Cooper, is a 5-foot-4 force of nature – she hit .422 with 21 home runs and 83 RBI, earning the Southeast Conference and ESPNw player of the year awards. Barring injury, she should end up in the NCAA top 25 for career home runs. Junior outfielder Victoria Draper will also be leaned upon after starting 69 games and hitting .325 last year.
There’s plenty of talent in the circle as junior pitcher Kaylee Carlson is back after going 19-2 last year with a 2.36 ERA; also prepared to knock out innings is sophomore Makayla Martin, who was 15-4 last year, posting a 1.57 ERA and holding hitters to a .215 batting average.
NOTE: Auburn signed eight players in its November recruiting class, a group ranked No. 2 overall in the nation. Four players were stalwarts in the Birmingham Bolts club program in Alabama; two others played for the OC Batbusters in southern California.