Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn softball Tigers scored five runs in their final two innings on the way to a 7-3 non-conference victory over Kennesaw State on Wednesday night.
The Tigers finished the contest with 11 hits as they improved their record to 37-7 while the visiting Owls dropped to 31-14.
Courtney Shea’s two-run homer provided the winning margin and she added another hit for the Tigers after spending extra time at batting practice a day early.
“I was looking for a good pitch to hit,” she said of her line drive homer, her fifth of the season. “I got my barrel on that one.
“I have been working on my swing and my stride,” the junior catcher said. “I was really focusing on trying to start (my swing) a little later and let the ball get a little deeper, and it worked tonight.”
Coach Clint Myers made a last minute change to the lineup when Kasey Cooper was hit in the cheek by a ball in fielding practice. The senior third baseman didn’t play in the field. Kendall Veach moved from third to first base and Jenna Abbott, who finished with two hits, started at first base.
“There is no indication anything is broke,” Myers said of Cooper. “The ball just popped up on her. It’s the face so we always take precaution. She kept saying, ‘Coach, I can hit, I can hit I can hit,’ so we put her in there."
Kasey Cooper has a black eye after getting smacked by a ground ball.
Cooper drove home one of Auburn’s three insurance runs in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly as a pinch-hitter.
Makayla Martin, who pitched six innings, allowed eight hits, struck out three and walked one as she improved her record to 16-5. Kaylee Carlson pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief.
Alley Cutting, who allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs in five innings, took the loss to drop to 15-8.
The Tigers struck first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Victoria Draper singled over the third base bag and scored from there on a double by Carlee Wallace she smacked over the first base bag. Alyssa Rivera followed with a line drive double off the wall in right center to make the score 2-0.
The lead didn’t last long as the Owls responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning on three singles.
The Tigers regained the lead in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer by Shea, a line drive over the right field fence that scored Veach, who was hit by a pitch.
Jenna Abbott played first base and handled the position well on a night the Tigers had no fielding errors.
n addition to Cooper’s RBI in the sixth inning, Abbott drove home one run with a double and Casey McCrackin’s line drive single to center field brought home a run.
“It was a good win and it will get us ready for South Carolina,”?Myers said. “Every time they scored we answered, which is good for teams to be able to do.”
On the downside the coach said he would have liked to have seen his team come up with more clutch base hits after stranding seven runners on base in six innings. “I am waiting,” he said of the team rising up for big scoring innings that lead to run-rule victories.
The Tigers will return to action with a 5 p.m. CDT start on Friday at South Carolina.