Sophomore catcher Carlee Wallace (above) drove home four runs for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--The No. 2 ranked Auburn softball team carried its momentum from Friday night’s exciting 4-3 walkoff win into Saturday with a 13-2 drubbing of the Georgia Bulldogs to clinch their SEC series over their rivals from Athens.
“You look at how we won the game last night,” said Coach Clint Myers after his team’s 20th run-rule victory of the season and sixth vs. an SEC team. “Between the crowd and the players, the whole focus was to come out and continue that energy. The crowd was into it early and we were in it early.
“The big thing is we were able to carry the momentum through five innings,” the coach pointed out. “We got the pitching we needed, we played defense like we are supposed to and we clearly got timely hitting.
“We took advantage of any mistake that they made,” he said as his team won its 12th straight SEC game to keep pace with Florida in a tie for first place in the league. “Those are key things. You don’t give good teams extra opportunities to beat you.”
The Bulldogs made sure that the one player who wouldn’t beat them with her bat on Saturday was third baseman Kasey Cooper, who was walked in every plate appearance Saturday after her three-run, two-out home run won Friday night’s game.
The walks to the All-American allowed for other Tigers to benefit from added chances at the plate, and the top producer for the afternoon was sophomore Carlee Wallace. The catcher was very influential in Auburn’s big offensive showing going 2-4 from the plate with four RBIs.
“It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling a little bit,” admitted Wallace. “I actually got a pretty cool little note stuck in my locker before the game from (starting pitcher) Makayla Martin. It was really cool that she said that no matter what I think about myself, the team thinks that I’m awesome and that I just need to go out there and do what I need to do. It was really cool to have the team on my back and for them to really show it.”
It was right fielder Madi Gipson who got the Tigers on the board first with a two-out, two-RBI single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning.
Georgia would strike back in the top of the second with a solo home run from designated player Maeve McGuire. From then on, however, it was almost all Tigers.
After an error on a Jade Rhodes grounder allowed Victoria Draper to score and make it 3-1 in the bottom half of the second inning, Wallace hit her first two-RBI single of the game to give the Tigers a cushion at 5-1.
The scoring snowballed from there when in the third inning Auburn plated runs after a Tiffany Howard triple scored Whitney Jordan, Emily Carosone took home after an unaware Bulldog catcher forced out Howard at the plate on a ground ball by Rhodes back to the pitcher. Howard knocked over the catcher, who couldn’t get back on her feet in time to tag out Carosone, who raced home from second base.
Wallace’s second two-RBI single of the contest made make it 9-1.
“Carlee’s been hitting the ball good all week,” Myers said. “She’s just got to carry it into the games. She’s got to keep that mentality. They’re young and they’re impressionable. You can’t teach experience. Carlee is only a sophomore and look how good she is. Again, it’s just letting them gain the experience, letting them understand, and then we just keep going out and play to get better.”
Freshman Makayla Martin remained undefeated as an Auburn pitcher.
Georgia would get a run back in the top of the fourth to try and postpone the fate it was heading towards of a run-rule defeat, but Auburn was not going to be denied. Carosone helped finish the game early with a double that cleared the bases. Rhodes tacked on another with a sacrifice fly to make the final score at 13-2.
Martin continued her stellar freshman season as a pitcher by going three and 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts. Rachael Walters would come on in relief and go one and 1/3 innings allowing two hits and a walk. Martin’s record now sits at 11-0.
Auburn’s record continues to rise with it up to 44-5 (14-3 SEC) while the Bulldogs fall to 37-12 (9-8 SEC).
The Tigers will go for fourth consecutive conference series sweep on Sunday with first pitch set for 4 p.m. CDT.