Tigers open 2020 campaign at NFCA Leadoff Classic

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AUBURN, Ala. –Softball season has arrived as No. 23 Auburn hits the road to face a loaded field at the 2020 NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla. The Tigers are set for five games over the three-day slate at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.

The Tigers face a challenging slate over opening weekend, facing four opponents that earned NCAA Tournament berths a season ago.

“We want to get this team ready for SEC play,” head coach Mickey Dean said. “We have 13 new faces, including nine freshmen. I don’t want them to get to conference play and not understand what they are in for. Our schedule is probably a little tougher than you want for a team this young, but we want to be prepared.”

Auburn opens the tournament Friday against Baylor at 11 a.m. CT before taking on Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m. CT later that afternoon. The Tigers return to the diamond on Saturday for contests against Liberty at 9 a.m. CT and Texas State at 11:30 a.m. CT. Sunday’s finale against Illinois is slated for an 11 a.m. CT first pitch.

The National Fastpitch Coaches Association is providing a live stream of every field at Eddie C. Moore Complex throughout the tournament. The NFCA’s Tournament Central page will be updated over the weekend and provides links to live streams, live stats, tickets and full schedule and results.

For opening weekend, JJ Jackson will have the radio call on the Auburn Sports Network.

LEADING OFF

  • Auburn enters 2020 season with one of its toughest schedules to date with 36 contents against teams that earned NCAA Tournament bids a season ago. The Tigers have nine contents against 2019 Women’s College World Series participants, including reigning national champion UCLA later this month.
  • The Tigers will look to rebuild this season after the loss of the 2019 senior class that set an NPF record when all five were selected in 2019 draft. Auburn has 13 newcomers on the 2020 squad, included transfers Samantha Yarbrough (South Alabama), Jadia Jones (Chipola College) and Tyler King (ECU).
  • Two senior Tigers earn a spot on Softball America’s Top 100 Collegiate Players as outfielder Alyssa Rivera (No. 81) and infielder Tannon Snow (No. 58) each earned a spot on the coveted list.
  • Head Coach Mickey Dean enters his third season at the helm of the Tigers. Dean holds an 80-38 (.678) record in his two seasons at Auburn and has led the Tigers to back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances.

ON DECK

Auburn opens its home slate at Jane B. Moore Field on Thursday, Feb. 13 with a 6 p.m. CT contest against Kennesaw State. The Tigers continue their home slate, hosting UNCW and Alabama State for the 2020 Plainsman Invitational over Feb. 14-16.

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