#13 Auburn Softball 2018 Preview

Auburn Tigers
Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #6 SEC
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Auburn had a great 2017 season, finishing 49-12 overall and 17-7 in an always tough SEC. The Tigers earned the seventh overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, but were upset by Oklahoma in the Super Regionals in two games after cruising the regional round. It was an unfortunate end to a brilliant season, but this group has the talent to be just as good as the 2017 version.
2017: 49-12, 17-7
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mickey Dean
Key Departed Players:
Carlee Wallace, C, .333 BA, 7 HR, 52 RBI
Haley Fagan, IF, .317 BA, 9 HR, 34 RBI
Kasey Cooper, IF, .311 BA, 10 HR, 46 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Victoria Draper, OF, .340 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI
Alyssa Rivera, OF, .371 BA, 3 HR, 28 RBI
Courtney Shea, C, .243 BA, 5 HR, 33 RBI
Kendall Veach, IF/C, .237 BA, 12 HR, 44 RBI
Kaylee Carlson, P, 1.36 ERA, 27-5 W-L, 206.1 IP, 117 SO
Makayla Martin, P, 1.98 ERA, 20-6 W-L, 155.1 IP, 105 SO
Where Auburn could take a step back is at the plate where Carlee Wallace, Haley Fagan and Kasey Cooper must be replaced. Those were, arguably, the top three hitters on the team last year, combining for 26 homeruns and 132 RBIs. That is a lot of production that needs to be replaced. Kendall Veach belted a dozen homeruns with 44 RBIs, but hit just .237 on the year. She will need to hit for a higher average to be as dangerous as the departed trio. Alyssa Rivera and Victoria Draper are consistent batters and will often be on base to give players like Veach an opportunity to drive them home. While the lineup retools, Auburn will rely on Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin in the circle. Carlson went 27-5 with a 1.36 ERA, while Martin was 20-6 with a 1.98 ERA. Those two will keep Auburn in the race for another regional host spot.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament
Madness 2018 Draft Rankings:
#2 Kaylee Carlson