Gainesville, Fla.--Poor fielding by the Auburn softball Tigers allowed Florida to take a walk-off 4-3 win in the opening game of an SEC softball series on Saturday night.
Second baseman Casey McCrackin dropped a pop up in shallow center field that was incorrectly ruled a hit by the official scorer. With two outs and the runners on the move, two runs scored as Kaylee Carlson suffered her first pitching loss of the season after 15 wins.
“She pitched good enough to win,” Auburn associate head coach Corey Myers said after the contest as the Tigers fell to 27-4 overall and 3-2 in the SEC.
Myers said the coaching staff kept their postgame message to the team positive, noting that overall the Tigers did a lot of good things vs. the No. 2 ranked Gators.
However, mistakes in the bottom of the seventh inning prevented Auburn from winning. An error on shortstop Haley Fagan kept the inning alive for the Gators, who improved to 6-0 in the SEC and 28-1 overall.
The Gators took the lead with two runs in the second inning with the help of three hits and a very poor call by the umpire crew that called a runner safe at home who was clearly tagged out for what should have been out three in the inning. The play was initially called an out, but overruled by the third base umpire.
In the fourth inning Auburn cut the gap to 2-1 on an infield single by Victoria Draper to score McCrackin, who doubled before advancing to third base.
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning as Fagan led off with a single and scored on a double to left field by Courtney Shea, who advanced to third on the throw home. The Tigers scored the second run of the inning on a squeeze bunt by McCrackin.
The teams will meet again at 6 p.m. CDT on Sunday and the game will be televised on ESPN2.