Auburn, Ala.--Third verse, same as the first, and the second one, too, as the Auburn Tigers cruised to a 10-2 SEC softball victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Sunday.
The game, which was stopped due to the run rule, lasted four and one half innings as the Tigers pounded out 11 hits vs. three Arkansas pitchers to complete a three-game sweep, all which were run-rule victories.
Seniors McKenzie Kilpatrick (left), Morgan Estell (center) and Branndi Melero (right) are shown on the scoreboard.
The Tigers improved to 44-8 overall and 16-5 in the SEC. Arkansas dropped to 15-33 and 1-20 in the conference.
“It was fun, I couldn’t be happier” said right fielder Branndi Melero, who hit a long home run in right center field on her senior day with her family making the trip from California to see her in action.
“It’s a blessing,” she said of having her family at the series. “This year is the only year they have actually come out to watch me play.”
The Tigers, who are a half-game behind Florida in the race to win the SEC regular season title, have three games left at LSU, a team previously ranked No. 1 in the country this season. Melero, a first team All-American as a junior, said she is looking forward to the challenge of playing at LSU.
“It is really important that we take the last three days of practice we have and go out there and play Auburn softball,” she said. “That fact that it is LSU out there shouldn’t mean anything if we go out there and play Auburn softball every time.”
Coach Clint Myers said he liked the way the Tigers pitched, hit and played defense in the sweep of the Razorbacks. Again on Sunday, the Tigers played error-free ball in the field.
“We are excited and looking forward to playing LSU because that is really setting the tone for the postseason,” said Myers, who notes he has a team capable of making a run to the College World Series..
Myers got a complete game pitching performance from lefty Rachael Walters, who improved her record to 16-3. She gave up two runs on solo home runs and allowed six hits. In each of the three games vs. the Razorbacks the starters went the distance.
Commenting on his seniors, Myers said, “I don’t think you can say enough great things about them. First and foremost they are great people. That is the part you are going to miss the most...They are great competitors, great athletes and they are truly going to be missed, but it is not over. They are going to have a chance to shine even more in next five or six weeks.”
Jade Rhodes takes a look for the ball after safely reaching second base on Sunday.
The Razorbacks struck first with a leadoff home run by Devon Wallace, but the Tigers responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning and never trailed after Melero’s two-run homer.
Emily Carosone made the score 3-1 with an RBI double in the second inning.
The Razorbacks cut the lead to 3-2 in the third inning before Auburn took control with seven runs in the fourth inning that featured a two-run homer by Jenna Abbott.
Tiffany Howard, Emily Carosone and Kasey Cooper each contributed two hits for an Auburn team that faced three Arkansas pitchers.
The Tigers will open their final regular season on Friday at LSU.
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