Auburn’s softball players can almost qualify as Baton Rouge residents after the past week.
The second-seeded Tigers’ stay in town extended beyond a week when they beat Missouri 5-2 on Thursday in the Southeastern Conference tournament at Tiger Park.
Auburn arrived April 30 to play the final regular-season series against LSU and stayed over for the conference tournament.
Coach Clint Myers said it was a challenge preparing for the tournament while players took a combined 30-plus final exams Monday through Wednesday.
“The problem is this is such a great venue that you would hope that they would have the opportunity to truly enjoy the experience,” Myers said, “but they don’t because they’re up until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning studying.”
Some players will have other finals to complete when they get home. Auburn can extend its stay into the weekend if it beats Alabama in the semifinals Friday to reach the championship game Saturday night.
Hoover finalist for award
LSU freshman right-hander Carley Hoover, who was named to the SEC all-freshman and all-league teams Tuesday, was selected Thursday as one of 10 finalists for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Freshman of the Year award.
The finalists, chosen from an original list of 25 candidates, include three SEC players, most from any conference. The other two are Alabama pitcher Alexis Osorio, the SEC Freshman of the Year, and Georgia OF/IF Cortni Emanuel.
Hoover was named SEC Freshman of the Week last week and has been the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Pitcher of the Week twice this season. She leads LSU with 14 wins in 24 appearances, 120.1 innings pitched and 145 strikeouts, is second in ERA (1.75), starts (15), complete games (11) and shuouts (four).
Three finalists will be selected May 21, and the honor will be presented May 26 before the opening of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Last year’s inaugural award was shared by two SEC players — Tennessee C/IF Annie Aldrete and Auburn IF Kasey Cooper.
Supak gets academic honor
LSU utility player Dylan Supak was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Capital One Academic All-District first team for District 6.
Supak, a senior from LaGrange, Texas, is the first player since Allison Falcon in 2012 to be a first-team selection. She is the seventh LSU player in program history to be on the district’s first team, which is made up of three teams from nine states.
A kinesiology major, Supak has played in 27 of LSU’s games this season, making 18 starts. She has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout her career. She is hitting .265 with 13 hits, six for doubles, 13 RBIs and eight runs.
A 2-hour, 16-minute rain delay early in Thursday’s third game put the tournament behind schedule, but Florida’s run-rule win against South Carolina sped things up a bit.
The Gators-Gamecocks game was stopped after South Carolina failed to score in the top of the first inning. The game resumed at 5:42 — 12 minutes after the final game between LSU and Tennessee was supposed to start.
Florida sent the Gamecocks home after 1 hour and 35 minutes, and LSU and Tennessee started at 7:43 p.m.