Keyes Dominates Gamecocks To Stay Alive

Kristin Keyes was dominant in Auburn's win over South Carolina in the elimination bracket of the SEC softball tournament.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Following a first round match-up with Alabama that ended after 1 a.m. Friday morning and resulted in a tough 7-1 loss at the hands of the Crimson Tide, fourth-seeded Auburn had to make a quick turnaround in less than twelve hours to face the eight seed South Carolina Gamecocks in the losers bracket of the SEC softball tournament in Tuscaloosa on Friday afternoon.

However, the Tigers dealt with the adversity very well and were able to come away with a 2-0 win over the Gamecocks with some timely hitting and behind a stellar pitching performance from Kristen Keyes.

Keyes took the mound for the second straight day, following a round one outing in which she gave up four runs on two home runs by Tide hitters. However, on Friday the senior from Clearwater, Florida was nearly perfect as she tossed a one hit shutout to keep the Tigers' tournament hopes alive.

At the plate Auburn was also able to get things going for the first time in the tournament with a third inning rally. Lolani Alvarez started things off by working a walk from South Carolina hurler Stacey Johnson. Then Lauren Walton fouled off five pitches before slapping a shot right back at Johnson. Johnson then committed a throwing error in attempting to put out Walton at first that allowed Alvarez to advance to third and Walton to move to second on the overthrow.

Kristina McCain then came through in the clutch for the Tigers, ripping a single to right that scored both Alvarez and Walton to give Auburn an early 2-0 lead and give the freshman her 10th and 11th RBI of the season.

For the Gamecocks, Johnson was solid on the mound giving up only two runs, only one of them earned, on six hits and two walks. However, with the stellar performance from Keyes it simply wasn't good enough to take the victory.

At the plate for South Carolina, Chrissy Schoonmaker managed the only hit with two outs in the bottom half of the seventh inning to break up Keye's bid for her fifth no-hitter of the season.

For the Tigers, McCain led the way going 1-3 on the afternoon, but that one hit drove in both of the Auburn runs. Alvarez was 1-2 with a run scored, as was Walton. Shannon Anderson also went 2-3 and Sarah Ghezzi added a hit as well.

Next up for the Tigers will be a match-up with the loser of the Mississippi State (#7 seed) and Georgia (#3 seed) game that will take place Friday night. That game will have a first pitch time of 1:30 p.m. on Saturdayafternoon.

If the Tigers can manage a win in that game they would then have to take on the winner of the Alabama vs. LSU contest at 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening to remain alive in the tournament.

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