Softball Squeaks Out Series Against Ole Miss
Auburn pitcher Kaylee Carlson currently ranks 5th in the country in wins. (Dakota Sumpter/AU Athletic)
Playing in front of the largest crowd of the season, Auburn softball edged out Ole Miss for a series win in Sunday’s rubber match after the Rebels shelled the Tigers in Saturday’s contest.
The Saturday loss surely dampened the high-flying spirits of those Auburn faithful who made their way from Jordan-Hare Stadium following Saturday’s spring football game. They had watched the Tigers heave the ball around the field and put up an impressive offensive showing.
That isn’t to say there weren’t offensive fireworks inside Jane B. Moore field. There were a total of 28 hits by both teams. Despite keeping pace with 13 hits, the Tigers were drilled 10–4, ending a five-game winning streak. Still, wins on Friday and Sunday won the series against the 21st-ranked Rebels.
Kaylee Carlson went the distance for Auburn on the way to her 19th win Friday night, allowing just six hits and a single run. She struck out seven batters with no walks while keeping every single hit in the infield. Most importantly, she retired the last nine Rebel batters after Auburn retook the lead off of a Alyssa Rivera two-run single.
Rivera continues to be the story for the Tigers. The freshman has been on fire since taking over starting duties. On Friday night, she had two hits, batting in the only two earned runs, added two more hits in Saturday’s afternoon game, which also featured three-hit performances by Carmyn Greenwood and Victoria Draper. She stayed hot on Sunday with another hit and an RBI. Though she has some catching up to do in at-bats (most starters are over 100 while she has 54), she leads the Tigers with a .407 batting average and sits in third with her .611 slugging percentage.
However, her Saturday hits weren’t enough to stop the Rebels, who knocked Makayla Martin around in her three innings of work. Ole Miss put up two runs in the second to cut Auburn’s lead in half before blowing the game open with a five-run third inning to cut Martin’s night short. Coach Clint Myers, already resting Carlee Wallace, elected to put in freshman Ashlee Swindle and all-around utility player Jenna Abbott to finish the night. Swindle surrendered three runs while Abbott held the Rebels scoreless.
The Rebels kept the Tigers in check, aside from a productive fourth inning that featured Haley Fagan’s three run homer during an 11-pitch at bat. It was a fun game to watch, but the loss was definitely a downer for the A-Day crowd that came to see Auburn’s winningest sports program over the past few years.
Auburn bounced back in Sunday’s rubber match. Kaylee Carlson was back in the circle and went the distance for Auburn. She allowed just four hits and no earned runs, though a Carlee Wallace error allowed the Rebel’s only run to score. Kasey Cooper has suddenly gotten hot and had six hits and two RBI’s on the weekend, including multiple extra-base hits. Cooper’s struggles at the plate have been fodder for commentators as she has hit under .300 this year. Despite being just average in that department, Cooper is tied for second on the team with six home runs and is second in RBI’s with 34, trailing only cleanup hitter Kendall Veach in those departments.
Auburn has a fairly easy schedule for a few weeks as they play a few mid-week nonconference games sandwiched in between the SEC’s bottom feeders. Georgia State, 26–12 on the season, comes to town Wednesday, and Auburn will have to be very careful with Megan Litumbe and Kensey Caldwell. Litumbe has hit 9 home runs, and both players have 34 RBI’s on the season. In all, GSU has five players hitting right at or above .300.
The matchup will be on SEC Network+, and first pitch is at 6:00 PM CT. Make sure to follow me on Twitter as I live tweet the game.