Auburn Tigers take series win over Aggies with 6-0 victory
From the Auburn University Athletics Department:
AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 22/22 Auburn softball team moved closer to securing its spot in the 2014 Southeastern Conference Softball Tournament on Saturday after securing a 6-0 victory over No. 23/23 Texas A&M, winning its first conference series since taking two from No. 10 Kentucky back in late March.
"This is what we are capable of," Auburn assistant coach Corey Myers said. "After the win last night the girls started to ignite their passion again. It's a long season, but we are getting to the point where we are about to play post-season, so it is time for the girls to have games like this."
Sophomore Marcy Harper twirled a gem, going seven complete and allowing only three hits with four strikeouts in the victory. The win pushed her record to 16-3 on the year and was third shutout of the season.
"She pitched out of some jams that she got herself into," Myers said. "But if you look back at the Alabama game, that is the same pitcher. I think that Alabama game got her going a little bit. I would expect to see her again tomorrow."
Offensively, the Auburn lineup scored early and didn't let up, plating six runs on nine hits, all earned against the Texas A&M pitching staff. The top of AU's lineup in Emily Carosone, Kasey Cooper and Branndi Melero all had two-hit games, while Melero continued to do what she did best, batting in two runs to up her season total to 69.
Cooper got things going for the Tigers in the bottom of the first when she launched her 15th home run of the year, a solo-shot, putting Auburn up 1-0. With that long ball, Cooper has now hit the second-most home runs in a season by any Auburn player and only trails Holly Currie and Ashley Moore, who hit 17 in the 2005 and 2002 seasons respectively.
The Orange and Blue tacked on three more in the bottom of the third after the first three batters of the inning reached base. Carosone was hit by a pitch, her 28th plunk this season, which was followed by Cooper's seventh double of the year, putting runners on second and third. Melero followed with a single down the right field line, scoring Carosone to push the score to 2-0. With that second run, it forced the Texas A&M coaching staff to make an early pitching change, bringing in Lauren Ainsley in relief of Katie Marks.
Later in the inning with two outs, junior McKenzie Kilpatrick singled to left field bringing around two runs to push the lead even further to 4-0. It was Kilpatrick's only hit of the day, but marked her sixth multi-RBI game of the season.
The Tigers completed their scoring in the next inning with another RBI coming off the bat from Melero. After Tiffany Howard reached with a one-out walk, Carosone singled her over to put runners at first and second. Cooper struck out in the next at-bat to put the pressure on Melero to score the insurance runs. With an 0-2 count, Melero delivered, once again, a single up the middle to score the speedy Howard from second for a 5-0 lead over the Aggies.
Later in the inning, redshirt junior Morgan Estell walked to load the bases with still two outs, bringing up freshman Jenna Abbott. Already 0-for-2 on the day, Abbott made her final at-bat of the game count when she singled home Carosone to put the final run on the board.
"Our approach at the plate has always been drive the ball down on the ground," Myers said. "We got away from it for six and a half innings last night and today we did a much better job of just driving the ball down."
Harper finished off the game in the circle, holding Texas A&M hitless in the final four innings to give Auburn the solid victory.
Auburn returns to the field on Sunday for game of the series with Texas A&M and the final game of the 2014 regular season. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Jane B. Moore Field and it will be Senior Day for Hilary Mavromat, Kristyn Richards and Maris Medina.