College Station, Tex.--Rachael Walters scattered five hits and as the sixth-ranked Auburn Tigers cruised to an 8-1 SEC softball victory on Friday night at Texas A&M.
Auburn, which is in first place in the SEC, improved its league record to 11-2 and is 39-5 overall. The 11 SEC victories matches last season’s total, the first year at Auburn for Coach Clint Myers whose Tigers have a one-game lead in the SEC over LSU, which also won on Friday.
The 23rd-ranked Aggies dropped to 7-6 in the SEC and 31-11 overall.
For Walters it was her sixth complete game of the season as she improved her record to 14-2.
Auburn has now won the opener in each of its five SEC series this season. The Tigers finished the night with 11 hits despite playing without one of its top hitters, third baseman Kasey Cooper, who did not make the road trip due to a medical issue that is expected to keep her sidelined until next week.
The Tigers gave Walters a five-run lead before she threw her first pitch on Friday night.
Emily Carosone got the first inning rally started with a one-out walk. Branndi Melero followed with a line drive single to left field and Haley Fagan loaded the bases with a walk.
First baseman Jade Rhodes got the scoring started with a single to left field to bring home Carosone and Melero.
Morgan Estell loaded the bases with an infield single that was followed by a ground ball up the middle by Jenna Abbott to score two more runs. A sacrifice fly deep to center field by Carlee Wallace made the score 5-0.
The Aggies scored a single run in the bottom of the first inning on a hit batter followed by a double.
Auburn added to the lead with a pair of runs in the third inning. Rhodes started the frame with a line drive double to the left field wall. She scored on a single to center by Estell.
After a single by Abbott put runners on first and third, Wallace grounded into a double play scoring Estell to make the score 7-1.
In the fifth Estell opened the inning with a line drive single to left and advanced to second when the outfielder fumbled the ball. Estell moved to third base on a two-out, infield single by pinch-hitter Courtney Shea. Estell scored when the first baseman mishandled a throw by the shortstop to end the scoring at 8-1.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday and it will be televised on ESPNU.