Tigers Take SEC Title With Walk-Off Smash

The Auburn softball team rallied to defeat Tennessee 6-5 to win the SEC Softball Tournament in extra innings.

Carlee Wallace (00) came through with the big hit for Auburn in the Tigers' walk-off victory at Tiger Park.

Baton Rouge, La.--Freshman Carlee Wallace’s smash into the left field corner scored Emily Carosone as the Auburn Tigers defeated Tennessee 6-5 to win the SEC Softball Tournament title.

Auburn’s first-ever SEC softball championship came following the two-out hit by the freshman catcher, who drove home second baseman Carosone, who came through with half of Auburn’s eight hits on Saturday night.

With the victory the Tigers improved their record to 48-9 while the Vols fell to 42-14 with three of those losses coming against Auburn.

"You can see the enthusiasm, the heart and the drive in these girls," said Auburn coach Clint Myers, who earlier in the week was named SEC Softball Coach of the Year.

"I challenged them in the sixth, and said, 'If you want something, you're going to have to fight for it. You have to chase your fears and get after it.' These kids did a great job all the way through the lineup. I'm just really proud of them."

Emily Carosone (5) gets a high five from team captain Morgan Estell after Carosone scored the winning run vs. Tennessee.

Wallace said she was trying to hit the ball on the ground, which is exactly what she did on the game-winner. "I am so happy I could help produce," she said, adding that AU's first league softball title is a big deal to the players.

"It's incredible, it means everything," she said. "We have worked so hard and Coach is just fantastic and he got us really prepared for this moment."

Carosone, a first team All-SEC selection who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, started the ninth inning with a single up the middle. After Kasey Cooper hit a deep fly ball to center field Carosone moved to second base on a groundout by Branndi Melero.

That set the stage for Wallace’s clutch hit. It was a fly ball by Wallace two innnings earlier that was dropped in left field by the Vols that tied the contest at 5-5 and sent it to extra innings.

The Auburn Tigers celebrate their championship at Tiger Field in Baton Rouge.

Auburn trailed 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning before Carosone smashed a single to center field and reached third on a double by Cooper that almost cleared the right field fence into a strong wind.

Carosone scored on a groundout by Melero that moved Cooper to third base where she scored on the one-out error by the Vols in left field to tie the game at 5-5.

Rachael Walters picked up the win for the Tigers, improving her record to 17-3. The lefty pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief and allowed two hits and one run, which came on the only homer of the night. Davis allowed four runs, three which were earned, in 5 1/3 innings as the starting pitcher.

Shortstop Haley Fagan had plenty to be excited about on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

Auburn jumped to a 3-0 lead with a single run in the opening inning and two more in the second.

Cooper drove home the run in the first scoring Tiffany Howard on a groundout as the Tigers took the lead with the help of walk and two wild pitches.

In the second inning Morgan Estell doubled, Haley Fagan walked and Jade Rhodes reached on a fielding error to load the bases. A walk to Jenna Abbott scored a run as did a two-out single by Carosone.

The Vols scored a single run in the fourth and took the lead with three more in the fifth inning before stretching the lead to 5-3 with Meghan Gregg’s line drive homer.

The Tigers came into the tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing the regular season a half-game behind Florida, the team No. 5 seed Tennessee defeated in the semi-finals.

Auburn advanced to the championship game with a win over a hot Missouri team after AU had an opening round bye. Auburn then defeated Alabama in the semi-finals.

Joining Carosone on the All-SEC Tournament team are third baseman Kasey Cooper, shortstop Haley Fagan and pitcher Marcy Harper, who threw a four-hit shutout vs. Alabama on Friday.

"The feelings we have are pretty awesome right now," Myers said. "Just getting to this game is a first for Auburn and winning the ball game is another first for Auburn.

"You saw the jubilation and the excitement as they mobbed Carlee at second base," the coach said. "That’s why we do it so that we can experience something very special. Carlee will remember that and Emily will remember scoring.

"It was a great team win," Myers added. "The pitching did a phenomenal job. The defense played pretty well, but we can still play better and that’s what we are going to work on in the next couple days before regionals.”

Auburn and other teams around the country will learn their seedings for the 64-team NCAA Tournament beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday. The Tigers are expected to be a top eight national seed and play at home in one of the 16 four-team regionals.

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