Kasey Cooper (above) and her teammates wore pink jerseys on Sunday for breast cancer awareness.
Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn Tigers completed their three-game softball sweep of the Longwood Lancers, the first place team in the Big South Conference standings, but Coach Clint Myers was less than pleased with the 6-5 victory.
The win improved Auburn’s record to 37-4 while the Lancers now sit at 21-15 (9-3 Big South). After the game Myers noted that he was happy with the victory, but saw plenty that needs to be worked on with his team’s performance.
“We’ve got to be better, plain and simple,” he said. “Good teams find ways to win. It’s kind of like a midweek game, and we played a good ball club that didn’t die. They’ve played some good people pretty tough. Again, they are a scrappy ball club.
“With the hitting we gave a lot of bats away,” Myers said. “We’ve got to barrel more balls and be a much better offensive team, which we are.
“To me it’s more of a mindset to go up there and attack. I haven’t taken an at-bat that mattered in 40 years though. Again, it’s about what they think and how they adjust.”
Senior Marcy Harper would start the game, her first pitching appearance since the Georgia State away game on March 23. Harper has struggled with committing illegal pitches this year, but against Longwood she didn’t have one. She finished two and 2/3 innings giving up one hit and four walks for two runs while recording two strikeouts.
Senior right-hander Lexi Davis (5-0) would relieve her and end up getting the win after going 3 1/3 innings while allowing two runs on three hits with one strikeout.
Senior lefty Rachael Walters would come on in the seventh and get her second save of the season.
“I thought we had pretty good pitching,” Myers said. “Marcy did a pretty good job. She didn’t have any illegal pitches, which was huge. She had thrown an intrasquad game yesterday so she was restricted on her pitch count. She did an okay job out there in the circle.”
After a scoreless first two innings, Longwood struck first with an RBI single by second baseman Carly Adams and a manufactured run on an infield single that eventually resulted in a rundown between third base and home plate for the third out of the inning.
The lead for the visiting team wouldn’t last long though as the Tigers would plate two in the bottom of the third after Longwood starting pitcher Sydney Gay started having major control issues. Gay would walk five batters in the half inning to allow the Tigers to even the scoring at 2-2.
In the Tigers’ next opportunity at the plate Emily Carosone would give Auburn the lead with an RBI single, but it would not hold for long as Longwood brought it right back in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly by shortstop Emily Murphy.
Auburn would then double its run total in the bottom half of the inning with small ball and more patience at the plate. Three runs would score on an RBI single by catcher Courtney Shea, a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Jenna Abbott and a fielder’s choice from another pinch-hitter Kendall Veach.
“We’re still getting timely hitting,” said Myers. “We’re still winning ball games. If we’re not hitting and not winning, now that’s a concern. Could we win easier? Most definitely. We’ve just got to be a lot more efficient and go from there.”
The Lancers would go on to hit a pair of solo shots in the sixth and seventh innings. Third baseman Karleigh Donovan and second baseman Carly Adams would leave the yard in those innings, but their efforts were not enough.
Auburn’s next game will be Wednesday in Birmingham when the Tigers take on the UAB Blazers (17-22, 7-5 CUSA). The first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m. CDT.