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Auburn's Pitching Has Been A Key to Auburn Moving to First Place in the SEC Softball Standings

Auburn's third-ranked softball team has improved its record to 33-4

Kaylee Carlson (above) has been a strong addition to the Auburn roster.

Auburn, Ala.--With a shutout in the opening game of the series and giving up just one run in nine innings in Sunday’s finale, for the Auburn women’s softball team a road sweep of the Kentucky Wildcats jumped the Tigers into a tie for first place in the SEC standings.

Coach Clint Myers noted there was a lot to like from his Tigers as they extended their winning streak to eight games, including six straight vs. SEC teams.

“I thought we had outstanding pitching in all three games,” Myers told Inside the Auburn Tigers. “Winning three on the road just doesn’t happen much in the SEC and the pitching was a big part in making that happen.”

On Friday night the Tigers took a 9-0 run-rule victory in five innings as Kaylee Carlson allowed just a pair of hits and got out of the contest with just 61 pitches thrown.

That helped her come back strong in relief on Sunday when she improved her record to 10-0. The transfer from North Carolina gave up just two hits in 4 1/3 innings of relief of Lexi Davis, who allowed a run and just four hits in 4 2/3 innings as Auburn won 3-1 after playing two extra innings.

In Auburn’s 6-5 victory on Saturday freshman Makayla Martin allowed just two hits in five innings. Rachael Walters got the save as the senior allowed one run on one hit in two innings of relief.

Photography: Dakota Sumpter

Makayla Martin is off to a very strong start as a freshman pitcher.

Auburn came into the series tied with Tennesseee for third place in the SEC with a 6-3 mark, trailing Kentucky and Florida, teams that were tied atop the standings at 8-1. Kentucky dropped to 8-4 in the league, which puts the Wildcats in third place. Tennessee is in fourth place at 7-5. Florida is tied with Auburn in first place at 9-3 after losing its home series to Alabama two games to one.

“Alabama defeated Florida in the rubber game of that series on Sunday, which is usually what it comes down to on who wins a series in the SEC,” Myers pointed out. “Our girls locked in on what they needed to do to sweep the series with some timely hitting and very good pitching.”

At the plate Jade Rhodes continues to be a key contributor. The senior first baseman scored two of the three runs on Sunday and hit her team-leading 13th home run of the season. She also contributed with a three-run homer on Friday when she was credited with four RBI and drove home another run when she reached base on a hard-hit ground ball ruled an error. 

“Jade had some really good swings off the Kentucky pitchers,” said Myers, who added that he saw a lot of good things from a variety of players during the three games in Lexington.

“I am really proud of how the girls played,” he said. “They did the things that good teams have to do to be successful to win on the road in the SEC.”

Myers said the three-game series against strong competition like Kentucky, which was off to the best start in school history when Auburn arrived in Lexington, “most definitely” will help prepare his team for postseason play.

The Tigers, who are 33-4, return to action with a 6 p.m. home game on Wednesday vs. Troy.

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