Kaylee Carlson (above) is undefeated this season.
Clearwater, Fla.--Kaylee Carlson’s strong junior season hit a new high on Saturday as she threw the second perfect game in Auburn softball history as the Auburn Tigers defeated Ohio State 8-0.
With the victory the Tigers improved to 26-3, taking both ends of a doubleheader vs. Big 10 teams. Auburn won the opener 6-2 vs. Illinois.
Carlson, who struck out three batters, credited her fielders with enabling her to join Holly Currie (Feb. 11, 2005 vs. College of Charleston) as the only pitchers in AU history with perfect games. “I couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.
The junior right-hander had excellent control vs. the Buckeyes, who dropped to 14-7. “Staying ahead of hitters is a big deal,” Carlson said. “It allows mix in the junk.
“When you are behind you have to throw strikes, which allows them to get hits sometimes,” Carlson added. “As long as you are ahead you are able to throw pitchers’ pitches instead of hitters’ pitches.”
Coach Clint Myers was impressed. “I thought Kaylee pitched awesome,” Myers said. “To pitch a perfect game, that’s just something that doesn’t happen. She got great support from the defense and we needed it."
The coach also had praise for third baseman Kasey Cooper, who became the second player in SEC softball history to reach 250 hits and 250 RBI. Charlotte Morgan of Alabama (2007-10) of Alabama is the only other player to have done it.
“Cooper is a phenomenal player,” Myers said. “She’s got a lot of softball left and there’s going to be other milestones that she’ll have, but it’s quite an honor to be the second player to reach 250 in two different areas."
After failing to get a hit in the first two innings vs. the Buckeyes, the Tigers struck for five runs in the top of the third inning.
Casey McCrackin opened the third with a single and moved to second base as Morgan Podany reached base on a fly ball dropped by the left fielder. Victoria Draper then reached on a bunt to load the bases, setting up an RBI?for Carlee Wallace on a walk.
Kasey Cooper smashed a ground ball right at the first baseman, who threw to the plate for out one. Haley Fagan then was out on a popup to the shortstop, who dropped the ball enabling Draper to score from third base.
Courtney Shea then drove home two runners with a hard-hit double to right center field. She scored from there when Madi Gipson followed with another double to right center field, ending the day for Ohio State’s starter pitcher with Auburn up 5-0.
Auburn added insurance with three runs in the top of sixth inning. Wallace brought home two with a two-out single to right field.
In game one the Tigers scored one run in the second inning, four runs in the fourth and one more in the fifth.
Cooper drove home four of the runs. In the second inning she scored Draper with a double to put the Tigers up 1-0.
In the fourth Cooper cleared the bases with a three-run homer after the Tigers after Auburn had gone up 2-0 thanks to an error by the Illini.
Whitney Jordan, starting in right field, tripled to open the fifth inning for the Tigers and scored on a ground ball by Morgan Podany to make the score 6-0.
Auburn pitcher Makayla Martin, who improved her record to 11-3, gave up single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Senior left-hander Jenna Abbott pitched the seventh inning for the Tigers are retired Illinois 1-2-3.
The Tigers out-hit Illinois 8-5 in the first-ever matchup between the teams.
Auburn will close out its five games in Florida with an 8 a.m. CST contest vs. LIU-Brooklyn.