Auburn, Ala.--With starting pitcher Lexi Davis struggling to get loose in pre-game warmups the Auburn softball Tigers went to Plan B, a course of action that worked just fine.
Filling in for Lexi Davis, right-hander Marcy Harper allowed just four hits in a complete game, run-rule victory as the Tigers outscored Arkansas 9-1 on Friday night at Jane B. Moore to open a three-game series.
“Marcy threw phenomenal,” said Coach Clint Myers, who added, “I told her we are going to surprise her like that (more often). Lexi just had a hard time getting loose so Corey (pitching coach Corey Myers) made the call late and Marcy went out there and just shut them down.
“She hit her spots, the ball was moving and she was throwing hard,” the head coach added. “It was a great performance by her.”
Harper, who didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, improved her record to 9-3 as the Tigers boosted their record to 42-8 overall and 14-5 in the SEC.
Harper wasn’t overly impressed with her performance. “I just executed what we practiced this week,” she said, adding it “wasn’t a big deal” to her to get the late call to be the starting pitcher. “I was already warming up, I was in relief, so it wasn’t a big deal.”
Auburn’s offense was slow to get started. The Tigers put a run across the plate in the third inning on an RBI single by Branndi Melero to score Emily Carosone.
The Tigers stretched the lead to 3-0 on a two-run homer to right center field by freshman catcher Carlee Wallace in the fourth inning.
Arkansas cut the lead to two runs on its first hit, a home run by Jessica Harrison that broke up the no-hitter.
The Tigers ended the game early with six runs in the sixth inning as the Razorbacks contributed to the rally with walks, hit batters and errors. Starting pitcher Grace Moll walked six batters before being pulled in the sixth inning.
Haley Fagan makes a play at shortstop for the Tigers, who played error-free ball on Friday night.
Auburn now has 20 run-rule victories this season, up from eight last season.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday and the finale is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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