Puerto Vallarta, Mex.--Auburn managed just four hits off Washington pitcher Tara Alvelo, three of them the infield variety, as the Tigers fell 2-1 in 10 innings to the Huskies to close out day one of the Triple Crown Tournament.
Entering the game off a 3-2 win over No. 1 Oklahoma earlier in the day Auburn Beats Sooners , it was the Tigers that took it on the chin against the Pac 12 Huskies in the nightcap as they pounded out 14 hits against pitchers Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin.
Still it was Auburn that held the lead for much of the game, scoring it’s only run on a wild pitch in the first inning. Carlson made that lead stand up until the top of the seventh when Washington finally made her pay.
Leading off the inning, Kelly Burdick reached on a bunt single and with one out stole second to move into scoring position for Taylor Van Zee. Already with one hit on the night, Van Zee singled to center field and when Victoria Draper misplayed the ball it allowed Burdick to score and tie the game. The Huskies would eventually put runners on the corners with two outs, but Carlson recovered to finish the inning and keep the game tied at one.
With Auburn’s offense struggling to get anything done the Huskies loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth off Makayla Martin and failed to score. That wouldn’t be the case in the 10th, thanks to some uncharacteristic defensive struggles by All-American Kasey Cooper.
Leading off the inning, Washington’s Kirstyn Thomas hit a dribbler to third and beat the throw by Cooper to reach first. Up next, Trysten Melhart’s ground ball to Cooper looked to be a possible double play, but Cooper’s error allowed both runners to reach safely.
That proved to be huge as the Tigers got a 4-6-3 double play, but in the process Thomas moved to third. Hitless on the night. Ali Aguilar sliced a single into left field to score Thomas and put Washington in front 2-1.
Alvelo would make that stand up, pitching a scoreless 10th inning to secure the victory on 164 pitches.
Auburn got on board in the first inning thanks to struggles from Alvelo. Walking Cooper, Wallace and Kendall Veach to load the bases with just one out, the Huskies uncorked a wild pitch to easily plate Cooper and make it 1-0 Tigers.
They had a chance to add to the lead in the second when Morgan Podany walked with one out and Victoria Draper put down a perfect bunt for Auburn’s first hit of the game. With two on base and the top of the lineup coming to the plate the Tigers looked to be in good shape, but a Cooper strikeout and a Wallace groundout left two more on base and kept the lead at one.
Carlson ran into some trouble of her own in the top of the third inning when Van Zee doubled with one out to put the Huskies in business. Bearing down, the junior recovered to get a ground ball and a fly ball and leave the runner stranded at third.
Washington kept the pressure on in the top of the fourth when Sis Bates reached on an infield single off Carlson to start the inning. Getting the next two hitters and ahead 0-2 on Trysten Melhart, Carlson left a changeup over the heart of the plate and she deposited it over the head of Casey McCrackin at second base for a single. Now with two runners on and two outs Carlson again came through, getting Burdick on a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
In the top of the sixth the Huskies again threatened with Julie Deponte lacing a double off the wall with one out to put the tying run in scoring position. Jumping on the first pitch, Thomas popped the ball up down the left field line and a hustling Cooper made the play against the fence for a big second out. A ground ball ended the inning to keep the Huskies scoreless and the Tigers clinging to the one-run lead.
It wouldn’t be enough on this night however as a lack of offense doomed the Tigers in the extra-inning loss.
Auburn will return to action on Friday at 2 p.m. central when the Tigers take on Nebraska.