Photo by Jason Caldwell

Kaylee Carlson Was Strong In the Circle Again As the Auburn Softball Tigers Defeated Ole Miss

Auburn returned to its home field for a game for the first time since March 12 and took a 3-1 victory over SEC to continue an SEC winning streak.

Kasey Cooper (above) contributed with two hits for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Kaylee Carlson improved her pitching record to 19-1 as the Auburn softball Tigers won a fifth straight SEC game on Friday night defeating Ole Miss 3-1.

The fifth-ranked Tigers improved to 32-5 overall and 7-3 in the conference. Ole Miss, which is ranked No. 21, dropped to 25-12 overall and 2-8 in the league.

Carlson, a junior right-hander, struck out seven Rebels, one off her season high. Kaitlin Lee took the pitching loss to fall to 9-5.

Carlson got good support with an error-free game, minimizing the impact of six hits she allowed.

Senior Kasey Cooper and freshman Alyssa Rivera led the Tigers at the plate with two hits.

For Cooper, who was celebrating her birthday, she doubled her SEC hit total for the season.

“This week I have really been focusing on hitting with Casey (hitting coach Casey Myers) and just figuring out what is different,” Cooper said of her slump. “It is always the little things that make the biggest difference.

“My position was slightly off and we focused on that all week and it showed tonight,” Cooper said.

Cooper noted she likes what she is seeing from the Tigers. “We are finding ways to win and it is somebody different every game. It is awesome that our chemistry is all there and we are unified and we are finding a way to win.

“Kaylee was phenomenal in the circle,” Cooper added. “It is going to be hard to lose games when we have pitching like that.”

The Rebels moved ahead 1-0 in the third inning with two infield hits. With runners on second and third with one out, a sacrifice fly by Sarah Van Shaik put the visitors on top.

Auburn took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth with Cooper starting the rally with a line drive, leadoff double to left center field.

Cooper moved to third on a perfectly executed bunt by Haley Fagan. She scored on a slow roller that the third baseman threw off the helmet of Cooper as she raced home, scoring one and putting runners on second and third.

With one out Rivera drove home both runners with a high chopper up the middle and that ended the scoring in the opening contest of a three-game series.

The teams will return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday in a contest that will be televised on ESPNU.

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