The Tigers are coming off of a series win in Starkville, Miss., against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and plan to keep the streak alive against the Gators.
“That would be a huge win for us,” said junior in-fielder Amber Harrison. “We’re going to go in positive hoping to come out with a couple wins, and it would really set the tone for the rest of our season.”
The fifth-ranked team is coming off an impressive sweep against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gators scored a total of 20 runs during the series compared to the Razorbacks’ one run of the weekend.
“Florida is a very offensive-minded team, and physically they have good strong pitchers on the mound,” said head coach Tina Deese. “We’ve got to be one hit better, one run better than Florida. It’s going to be a good, hard fight.”
Florida has a lot of big hitters including senior Megan Bush, who recently set the SEC record for 62 career home runs, but the Tigers continue to focus on their play.
“I don’t think we really look at that,” said junior left-handed pitcher Angle Bunner. “Of course it’s a part of the game, but it’s not really something we look at.
“I think we are capable to bounce back from anything, so I don’t think we really put an emphasis on big numbers like that. We can’t look at that as an intimidation factor, we just have to go out and play.”
Although the Tigers are facing a hard-hitting team, Auburn has a few hitters of their own, leading with Harrison batting an average of .327 and Morgan Estell batting an average of .398.
“Basically at this point in the year, you’re not learning a whole lot, you’re just getting out there and performing,” Deese said.
Auburn plays the defensive side of the ball just as well as the offensive.
Bunner (11–3, 1.30 ERA), Lauren Schmalz (12–3, 2.03 ERA) and Jenee Loree (9–3, 2.07 ERA) are all doing well at the mound.
“It’s always extra room for stuff you need to work on,” Bunner said. “We need to make sure we’re playing fresh with pitching; we need to keep our defense sharp and stay on top hitting.
“It’s pretty much the whole part of the game we need to keep a focus on.”
The team hopes to receive help from the fans as they play at home against the Gators.
“It’s definitely an advantage to play at home and to get to be on your home turf when you’re playing a tough school because you don’t have to play in front of their fans; you get to play in front of your fans,” Harrison said. “Everyone is cheering for you instead of against you, so it’s definitely a better atmosphere to play tough completion on.”
The Tigers play the Gators at Jane B. Moore Field Friday at 6 p.m.