The LSU softball program will honor its three seniors in their final home series against Auburn this weekend.
But it won’t be goodbye.
The Tigers are hosting the Southeastern Conference tournament next weekend and are a virtual shoo-in to host games in the NCAA tournament as well.
So center fielder A.J. Andrews and utility players Dylan Supak and Kailey McCasland will be hanging around Tiger Park for a while longer — but this series, which begins at 6 p.m. Friday, provides an opportunity to acknowledge their careers.
The players will be recognized individually — McCasland on Friday, Andrews on Saturday and Dupan on Sunday — and as a group on Sunday.
Coach Beth Torina said this group is “very special” to her because they arrived as freshmen at the same time she arrived as a coach in 2012.
“I did my senior video for them last week and I was choked up and laughing and felt all the emotions that go with losing three people from this program that you care so much about,” Torina said before practice Thursday. “You can handle it because you’re not really saying goodbye to them; you’re almost saying good luck with the rest of the journey here.
“I think if it was truly their last day at Tiger Park it would be a lot more emotional, but they know they have a lot more season left, a lot more to accomplish.”
Sixth-ranked LSU (43-8, 14-7 SEC) can be seeded anywhere from first to fifth in the SEC tourney depending on results this weekend. The Tigers are tied for third with Alabama, two games behind eighth-ranked Auburn (16-5, 45-8) and 2½ games behind Florida (16-4).
“If you go through every scenario we’re going to be calculating numbers for hours,” catcher Kellsi Kloss said, “so our goal this weekend is to take it one game at a time and get some good momentum going for the postseason.
“Obviously we’ve done well enough to put ourselves in a good spot for the postseason, but right now it’s just about getting momentum and getting ourselves on the right foot for the SEC tournament and for regionals.”
LSU still has some work to do to secure one of the four first-round byes in the SEC tournament. Fifth-place Missouri, which holds the tiebreaker after beating LSU in a series last weekend, is one game behind them going into its home series against Florida.
“We just need to win at this point,” McCasland said. “Winning is going to put us in the best position possible.”
Auburn is the highest-scoring team in the country, averaging 8.77 runs per game. It also ranks first in on-base percentage (.484), second in slugging percentage (.642) third in batting average (.368) and ninth in home runs per game (1.77).
Torina said second baseman Constance Quinn, who suffered a slight shoulder injury in a collision on the bases during an 11-0 win against Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, has been cleared to play Friday.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.