The Mickey Dean era is set to officially begin Thursday as Auburn hosts Marshall and Wichita State as part of the Plainsman Invite tournament.
Auburn head coach Mickey Dean arrives from James Madison as he looks to continue to build upon the success the Auburn Tigers have experienced over the past few years.
Dean said he is ready to his first game as coach for the Tigers.
"It feels great," Dean said. "As a coach, it doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, you never feel like you are quite ready. As long as we are playing with a great deal of effort and a great deal of energy we will be just fine."
As Opening Day draws closer, the Tigers are getting ready to go.
"Excitement and energy," Dean said. "I don't want us to be anxious but I want us to understand the urgency by being ready."
Infielder Casey McCrackin echoed Dean's statements and said the team is ready to face off against another team.
"A lot of excitement, we've been waiting for this for a while now. Being able to finally start now, we are just so ready for it," said McCrackin.
Marshall, who the Tigers open with on Thursday, brings a difficult challenge to start the year.
"They have a lot returning, I know that," Dean said. "They will be a little inexperienced in the circle but head coach Jennifer Steele is very good working with pitchers and is a good game caller. If she finds a weakness in a batter she will get to it quickly. So, we have to be able to make adjustments and be able to make those adjustments quickly."
Auburn's lineup will look a little different this year than last with mixture of old and new faces throughout the lineup.
"We are going to start our best nine," Dean said. "I don't worry about all that other stuff. When we get opportunities to put kids in that might not be in the starting lineup then we will take advantage of that. Their opportunity to win their position and win playing time is during practice. So, we are going to start our best nine that gives us the best chance to win each game."
"We just need to do our job and communicate a lot to make sure everyone is in the right position," senior catcher Courtney Shea said. "Hit the ball hard and play solid defense, not really a secret recipe behind it, just do your job."
Auburn will open the season against Marshall Thursday at 3 p.m. CT at Jane B. Moore Field. The Tigers will play eight games over the weekend as the 2018 campaign gets underway.