Seminoles Blank Tigers Again To End Season

Auburn, Ala.—The Auburn Softball team was looking for some redemption against a Florida State team that throttled the Tigers 5-0 on Friday night, but it wasn't to be as Casey Hunter proved that the third seeded Seminoles' performance on Friday was no fluke as she again threw a complete game shutout against the host team and led the Seminoles to a 2-0 win and a berth in Sunday's championship round.

Auburn finishes its season with a school-record 50 wins and just 17 losses while FSU (35-27) advances to face the Baylor Bears on Sunday. Coach Tina Deese said the Tigers just couldn't get anything going against Hunter, who was the difference in the two games Auburn lost in the regional.

"It was a tough loss for us," Deese said. "I thought Holly Currie pitched a heck of a game. We stayed on Hunter and hit the ball hard consistently, we just didn't get a break. I felt like we were right there even up until the last out. We had runners in scoring position, one hit or one ball falls and we're right there. We played good. They were enthusiastic and hustled just like they've done all year. I was real proud of the way they played."

The Seminoles got on the board early again as they were able to manufacture a run in the bottom of the first inning. Natsha Jacobs led-off with a bunt single and was sacrificed to second. Then, a Veronica Wootson single to center moved Jacobs to third. Next, Wootson stole second and no one was in position to handle the throw down from Sara Dean and it rolled into centerfield and Jacobs scored uncontested. The second and final run by FSU scored in the bottom of the sixth as Wootson homered to put the Tigers down two. That's all Hunter would need on the way to her 21st victory of the season.

Despite shutting out the Tigers for a second time in two days, the Tigers got the bat on the ball much more often and much harder against Hunter on Saturday night, but they simply could not put any runs across the plate when they had the opportunities.

One of the best opportunities came in the seventh inning down 2-0 as the Tigers were looking to tie or possibly with the game late. Leading things off Anne Norton singled up the middle to put the Tigers in business and Lolani Alvarez followed with a single of her own to give the Tigers the tying runs on base with nobody out. Attempting to bunt the runners over Robin Martin eventually wound up popping out to shortstop for the first out of the inning.

Amy Shaw also failed to get the job done to bring shortstop Ashley Griffin to the plate with Auburn's hopes falling fast. Auburn's most clutch performer all season long, Griffin skied a fly ball into left field that came up short of going out of the park. The play ended Auburn's season as the Seminoles advance to face Baylor on Sunday.

Another good scoring opportunity came in the second inning as the Tigers made a run at tying the game at one, but Lauren Walton, who was pinch running for Norton, who reached after being hit by a pitch, was thrown out for the third out of the inning trying to score from second on a single from centerfielder Shaw. She could have scored easily one batter earlier as Martin hit what looked to be a solid single to right, but FSU right fielder LaShaun Davis made a great diving catch for the second out of the inning.

The Tigers had a shot to put another run on the board in the fourth as Sara Ghezzi walked to leadoff the inning and after being punch run for by Brittany Scott, she was sacrificed to second and then to third, but Lolani Alvarez grounded out to end the inning.

For Auburn it is the end of a season, but the building block for the future as seniors Alvarez, Norton, Dean and Paige Jones closed out their careers on Saturday night. Deese said that she can't begin to explain how much this year's senior class has meant this season and for the future of the program.

"These seniors, I told them to look up in the stands at some of the things they've created," Deese said. "When they stepped on the campus for the first time, first and foremost we didn't have bleachers and six people in the stands. I think they've really created an atmosphere that is fun. That is a tribute to them because they are fun to watch and they hustle and they do play the game well. They give it everything they have. These seniors have contributed in a big way and have created an atmosphere of team for us. I just can't tell you how proud I am of them and how much I'm going to miss them."

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