Ashlee Swindle (above) improved her record to 1-0.
Columbia, S.C.--Freshman pitcher Ashlee Swindle’s first collegiate start was a memorable one as she led the Auburn Tigers to a 2-0 SEC softball victory over South Carolina on Saturday.
Swindle pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed just two hits with no walks before giving way to Kaylee Carlson, who had thrown a complete game 2-0 shutout on Friday night. Carlson picked up her second save of the season and did not allow a hit or a walk.
A right-hander who was Alabama’s high school player of the year last season, Swindle took the spot in the pitching rotation normally held by sophomore Makayla Martin, who is indefinitely suspended from the team. Prior to Saturday the freshman had made 12 relief appearances while posting a 3.82 earned run average in 22 innings.
Swindle said she was both excited and nervous as she opened the game, but it didn’t show as she located her pitches on the corners and kept the Gamecocks off balance with an effective change-up.
“I had all of the staff just telling me to trust myself and let my defense work,” the freshman said.
“Last night I watched how Kaylee got batters out and the main key was to keep the ball low.”
Auburn scored a single run in the first inning when Victoria Draper led off the game with a bunt single and scored on a bases loaded walk to Courtney Shea. However, the Tigers, who loaded the bases with nobody out, missed an opportunity to give their freshman pitcher a bigger lead.
The Tigers added an insurance run in the fourth inning when Kendall Veach launched two long shots over the left field fence. The first was foul, but the second one made the score 2-0.
The Gamecocks had a serious threat in the sixth inning without getting a bit. A hit batter by Swindle with one out was followed by an error on shortstop Whitney Jordan, putting two runners on base. However, Carlson got two fly outs to end the threat stranding runners on second and third.
Nickie Blue was the losing pitcher, dropping to 9-9 for the Gamecocks, who are 27-20 overall and 3-13 in the SEC. She allowed all five of Auburn’s hits and gave up three walks.
The seventh-ranked Tigers improved to 39-7 overall and 12-5 in the SEC.
Game three of the series is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CDT, a time change due to concerns about the weather.