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Auburn softball earns bid to Tucson Regional

<p>Morgan Podany (17). Softball vs Florida during the SEC Tournament on Friday, May 10, 2019, in College Station, TX.</p>

Morgan Podany (17). Softball vs Florida during the SEC Tournament on Friday, May 10, 2019, in College Station, TX.

Auburn softball is headed to Pac-12 country.

The Tigers have been selected as the 2-seed in the Tucson Regional, hosted by No. 6 overall seed Arizona. Auburn opens with Colorado State this Friday at 8 p.m. CST.

The four-team field includes Auburn, Arizona, CSU and Harvard.

“It’s great to see all your hard work start to pay off,” said junior first baseman Justus Perry. “This team has really done a lot of work lately and I think we are playing our best ball right now.”

Arizona was one of the sport's elite this season, tallying 42 wins. Colorado State went 38-10 en route to a regular-season Mountain West Conference championship. And Harvard, despite an average 25-17 record this year, received its bid after winning the Ivy League Tournament title last week in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Relative to how their regular season ended, the Tigers (37-19, 10-14 SEC) are riding high after winning their way to the SEC Tournament semifinals last week in College Station, Texas, becoming the lowest seed in the tournament's history to advance to the semis as the No. 10 team. They lost 3-0 to eventual tournament champion Florida and eventual tournament MVP Kelly Barnhill.

After the Gators' win in the championship, Auburn senior outfielder Morgan Podany and junior pitcher Ashlee Swindle represented the Tigers on the All-Tournament team.

Last season, Auburn's season ended in the Tallahassee Regional hosted by No. 6 seed Florida State, which went on to win its first national title at the end of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Tigers opened with a win over Kennesaw State before being knocked into the loser's bracket by the Seminoles. Auburn bowed out of the postseason with an upset loss to Jacksonville State.

As Auburn now arranges its travel plans to Tucson, head coach Mickey Dean is juggling a trio of injuries. Senior ace pitcher Makayla Martin has been out since March with a hand injury, infielder Taylon Snow injured her shoulder in the SEC Tournament and did not play in the loss to Florida, and pitcher Chardonnay Harris slipped and hurt her leg in the loss to the Gators. 

Harris appeared to shake off the injury, but Martin's right hand and wrist were still in a brace during the SEC Tournament. Meanwhile, Snow left Auburn's quarterfinals win over Tennessee with a shoulder injury before returning to the dugout in street clothes, with her shoulder iced and her arm in a sling.

Dean is expected to update the injury statuses. The Plainsman will update this story.

Nathan King | Sports Editor

Nathan King, senior in journalism with a minor in business, is The Plainsman's sports editor.

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