Emily Carosone (above) puts a tag on Keeli Milligan, who was thrown out by catcher Carlee Wallace on a steal attempt.
Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn softball team’s losing streak increased to three games as Texas A&M rallied for a 6-5, extra innings victory on Friday night.
The Aggies sent the game to extra innings with a two-out single to tie the contest at 4-4 in the top of the seventh inning off of relief pitcher Rachael Walters.
The lefty then gave up a pair of solo home runners to the visitors in the top of the eighth inning that provided the winning margin as Auburn answered with a single run in the bottom of the inning.
Tiffany Howard’s RBI single to left cut the lead to one, scoring pinch-runner Casey McCrackin. Emily Carosone, with runners on first and second, popped out to third base to end the game.
“We do need to turn things around,” said Coach Clint Myers. “Someone asked if we were playing our best softball early and I said I don’t think so because we were making mistakes that need to be corrected.
“Championship softball is played with a much sharper mentality and that is what we just talked about,” he said after addressing his players. “We have the capability of being a great team, but we are not going out there and firing on all cylinders like championship teams do. It is a character-maker.”
Auburn took the lead in the second inning on at two-out single to center field by Whitney Jordan to score Madi Gipson, who had reached base on an infield single before advancing to second base.
The Aggies took the lead in the top of the third inning by scoring three runs with two outs. Kirsten Cuyos tied the game with a double off of Kaylee Carlson. Kristen Cuyos then made it 3-1 with a home run off the scoreboard in left center field.
The Tigers narrowed the lead to a run in the bottom of the third. Emily Carosone and Kasey Cooper walked to open the inning and moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt by Carlee Wallace. Carosone then scored on a groundout by Jade Rhodes.
Kasey Cooper made several strong defensive plays at third base, but an error in the seventh inning moved the tying run into scoring position.
A two-out double by Courtney Shea put the Tigers back on top 4-3 in the fifth inning. The line drive to right center field scored Cooper who singled and Wallace who reached second base on a high fly ball to the left center field fence that was dropped for an error.
Freshman Makayla Martin pitched three strong innings of relief, allowing just one nit and no runs, but was pulled in favor of Walters.
Myers said the decision to go with the lefty was because A&M’s first two batters in the inning were left-handers. The coach noted the tying run got into scoring position on an infield hit combined with a throwing error by Cooper.
“Then the bloop single to right was a good pitch,” Myers said. “You can’t defend against the bloop. It was just well placed.”
Kaylee Carlson pitched the first three innings for the Tigers.
The Tigers and Aggies will play the second game of their final regular season series at 1 p.m. CDT on Saturday.
Auburn fell to 15-6 in league play, dropping into a tie for second place with Tennessee. Florida clinched the regular season title with a shutout win vs. Arkansas on Friday night. The Gators are 18-4.
The Tigers are 45-8 overall while Texas A&M improved to 36-16 overall and 8-14 in the league.