Troy softball plays host to in-state rival Auburn

Published 6:27 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Troy infielder Taylor Smartt couldn’t think of a better way to open the newly renovated Troy Softball Complex.

She and the Trojans will welcome in the Auburn Tigers Thursday afternoon, and open the 2014 season.

Smartt feels the early-season meeting with the SEC foe will get the Trojans ready for the rigors of Sun Belt play.

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“I think its great to play them,” Smartt said. “We get to start it off with a bang, and get a lot of people out here to support the team from the beginning. We are going to do our best to be prepared, but we know that the season is a marathon and not a sprint.”

Auburn opens the season with a new coach, Clint Myers, and returns 14 letter winners from last year’s team.

Myers led Arizona State to national titles in 2008 and 2011.

Troy head coach Melanie Davis said it is sometimes tough to get well-established teams to come to the Trojans’ home field.

“It is never easy to get folks on your schedule,” Davis said. “We traditionally play pretty well at home, and I have had people tell me that they don’t want to lose to Troy. That is a big compliment to what our kids have been able to do through the years. But it is big for us to bring in the Auburn’s and Alabama’s and others to Troy.”

The Trojans return several top athletes from a season ago, including Preseason All-Sun Belt selection Kacie McAllister. McAllister hit .313 with 31 runs scored, 46 hits and nine doubles in 2013 while also leading the SBC in 13 sacrifice bunts. She started every game for the Trojans and led the team with a .985 fielding percentage.

First pitch for the season-opening contest between the Tigers and Trojans is set for a 3 P.m. first pitch from the Troy Softball Complex on Elm St.