Softball Sweeps UGA in Athens
Kendall Veach continues to be the offensive catalyst for the Tigers.
Auburn softball continues to pile up records and program firsts. Auburn is building some terrific momentum, despite dropping the series against Florida two games to one. Over the weekend, the Tigers swept the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, which is a first for the softball program
Kendall Veach continues to be the offensive catalyst for the Tigers, although Carlee Wallace has come on lately as more than just a leadoff hitter. Veach kicked things off Friday night with a two-RBI single scoring Haley Fagan and Wallace after Courtney Shea’s single scored Kasey Cooper, who had reached via a walk.
Fagan’s last walk, one of four on the day, scored the go-ahead run after the Dogs tied the game 4–4 in the fourth inning.
Auburn committed two errors, one by Haley Fagan that led to two Georgia scores in the fifth and another by Casey McCrackin that led to an unearned run. Courtney Shea added insurance with a base knock that gave the Tigers the game winning 7–5 score.
Kaylee Carlson went the distance for Auburn, holding the Bulldogs to nine hits and three earned runs.
Kasey Cooper continues to lead the Tigers with 31 walks, but the two-time All-American continues to lack in hit production at the plate. Most teams try to pitch around her, giving her precious few pitches to hit. When she does connect, it usually comes on 3–0 or 3–1 counts. Other times, the sharp-eyed Cooper has been forced to swing at pitches that are not her power pitches, and she sometimes swings on poor pitches out of frustration. Currently she has the lowest batting average (.265) of the Auburn starters. And, as a team, the Tigers’ batting average is the lowest in the SEC. Cooper has produced, though, and her 30 RBI’s and six home runs rank second on the club.
The two teams were back on the field Saturday and Auburn …
thrashed the Bulldogs 13–4, although the game never should have gone past the fifth inning. Makayla Martin went a full seven innings, and she was credited for three earned runs on the evening.
One of the ‘Dogs four runs was definitely NOT earned as Auburn was on the end of another dreadful call at the plate. On a play at home, Carlee Wallace locked the front of the plate as the throw came in, perfectly on line. The Georgia base runner never touched home plate, and Wallace applied the tag. Unlike last week’s awful reversal, where the 3rd-base umpire claimed Wallace bobbled the ball, the home-plate umpire signaled for obstruction of the plate, and UGA was awarded the run. However, Auburn wasn’t given the same treatment in game three when a base runner ran into Haley Fagan, keeping her from making a throw to first base.
At the plate, Carlee Wallace stayed white-hot with three hits and four RBI’s. Her first at bat set the tone as she smoked a homer on the sixth pitch. Her next hit was just inches from heading over the fence but instead careened into the corner, and Wallace added a standup triple for three RBI’s. Victoria Draper added a bit of attitude to the play as she was inches behind Whitney Jordan as the two crossed the plate. Draper slid into home and came up emphatically.
While Wallace and Veach continue to be mainstays of Auburn’s highlight reels, Kendall Veach crushed two homers and added four RBI’s. Still, the story for the weekend may have been the emergence of highly touted freshman and Team USA player, Alyssa Rivera. Rivera had not one, but two, ESPN Top-Ten-worthy catches as well as a terrific weekend at the plate. She was a substitute in Friday’s game but started Saturday and Sunday and made the most of the starts with superior fielding, solid hitting, and some excellent speed as she beat out two infield singles. The freshman leads the team in batting average, although she has only about half the at-bats of the regular starters while leading the part timers in home runs and RBI’s.
Auburn returns to Jane B. Moore Field this weekend to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. This should be a sell out crowd because to Saturday’s A-day football game. The series kicks off Friday night at 6:00 PM Central and can be seen on the SEC Network. The Saturday game is 3:00 PM, the perfect time to stroll over from Jordan-Hare. It can also be seen on ESPNU. Sunday’s game can be viewed on SEC Network at 1:00 PM Central. Follow me as I live tweet the game.