Tigers Softball Update
Kaylee Carlson pitched her second career no-hitter against Ohio State. (photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn athletics)
The Tigers emerged from the SEC opener against LSU victorious but didn’t exactly escape without any lumps. The Yellow and Purple Tigers from Louisiana actually outscored Auburn 16–10, winning game two by run-ruling the Orange and Blue, something softball fans haven’t seen in quite some time. Auburn beat LSU 5–4 in games one and three to take the series.
The next two games against Tennessee in Columbia, TN and MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN were canceled due to inclement weather. Coach Clint Myers and his team made the most of five off days to prepare for the USF Invitational, which took place in both Clearwater and Tampa.
The Tigers had all they wanted from North Dakota State in their first game. While Kaylee Carlson held the Bisons to just three hits, Auburn needed a Madi Gipson walk-off single to score pinch runner Bree Fornis in a 2–1 win. The Tigers had eight hits, but they couldn’t string enough together to do much damage.
Auburn turned it around against USF in the second game of the double-header. Makayla Martin took the circle for the Tigers and shut out the Bulls, giving up just two hits on four strikeouts despite five walks. The Bulls’ two hits came in the first and last innings. In the meantime, Victoria Draper logged three hits on four at-bats, but it was Carlee Wallace’s two run homer in the 4th broke the game open for the Tigers.
On the 18th against Illinois, Martin started Auburn’s first game of the double header. In six innings of work, she allowed two earned runs on five hits while adding four strikeouts. Kasey Cooper made it into the record books for Auburn with her two hits and four RBIs, becoming the second player in SEC history to have 250 hits and 250 RBI’s.
However, it was Kaylee Carlson who stole the show later that afternoon.She did so in an 8–0 run-rule win against Ohio State. While she must be given credit for a masterful game, she didn’t do with with strike-outs. She forced the Buckeyes to hit at her defense. That defense was flawless. Along the way, Carlee Wallace added three RBI’s.
A transformation continues for the young Auburn program. Last year’s hot bats have cooled dramatically, but the pitching has been phenomenal. Both Carlson and Martin have ERA’s under one, an amazing statistic. Reliever Jenna Abbott has an ERA of 1.00 in her five appearances. Young Ashlee Swindle has struggled thus far, with a 3.78 ERA in ten appearances. On the hitting side, Kendall Veach leads in home runs, having hit seven dingers, though she posts the worst batting average of the regular starters. On the other end of the order, Draper is hitting .411 with no homers and a .492 on-base percentage. Haley Fagan has become the hitter Tiger fans remember from 2015 with five homers, a .337 average and an OBP of .450. Her 30 hits are more than any player on the team, and her slugging percentage is at the top.
Up next are the Florida Gators in Gainesville. While Auburn can claim two straight SEC championships and a WCWS Finals appearance, Florida has been Auburn’s kryptonite. The Gators moved up to number two this past weekend and received five votes as the best team in the nation. The Tigers slipped from No. 2 to No. 4. This will be a premier matchup and kicks off Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. central. Game two is Sunday at 5:00 p.m. and game three is at 6:00 p.m. Monday. Games one and two are scheduled to be aired on ESPN2.
Coach Myers is scheduled to give an update on Washington transfer Tannon Snow, missing on the field since before the season began.