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Auburn Defeats UL-Lafayette 12-11 in Game 1 of NCAA Super Regional

It was one of the strangest sporting events I've witnessed. And maybe one of the more stressful.

Senior Branndi Melero
Senior Branndi Melero
Zach Bland / Auburn Athletics

Auburn was playing from behind for the entire game. They fell down 1-0 in the 1st inning as UL-Lafayette hit a solo shot home run. Home runs would become familiar for the Ragin' Cajuns. Auburn answered in the 1st, but left the bases loaded. That would also become familiar.

In five of the seven regulation innings, Auburn left the bases juiced. In one inning they loaded the bases with zero outs and could get nothing out of it. It was extremely frustrating for Tigers fans to watch as the Ragin' Cajuns continued to pile up runs.

Auburn picked up a few runs on home runs by Emily Carosone and Jade Rhodes. In the top of the 7th, though, ULL added two more solo shots to take a 10-5 lead into the final half frame.

That's when the madness began. Auburn put one runner on with a base hit, but it quickly got to two outs and things looked bleak. Then the UL-L pitcher started walking Tigers. And kept on doing it.

The Ragin' Cajuns finally pulled the plug on the starter after 210 pitches and 13 walks, but not before a lot of damage had been done. It was 10-8 and a 2-0 count to Emily Carosone. The reliever tossed a few balls to the plate to warm up, and also tossed a few underhanded to the third baseman.

A walk was called. Carosone was given first base. Another runner walked home. Suddenly it was 10-9. Another walk and it was 10-10. A tie game in the 7th inning entirely on 2 out walks.

Branndi Melero popped up to close out the inning, but one of the strangest half-innings of play I've ever seen was over.

In the extra frames, Lexi Davis came in to pitch for Auburn. UL-Lafayette picked up one run on a wild-pitch, but that's it in the Top of the 8th.

It wasn't enough for the Ragin' Cajuns. Auburn was able to get the bats going again in the Bottom of the 8th and picked up the amazing win. It started with a walk. Then a chopped single. Then Morgan Estell hit a double to tie the game and put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Jade Rhodes struck out, but then a chopped in-field single to the second baseman resulted in Haley Fagan sliding in just below the tag for Auburn to pick up the walk-off win!

They go into tomorrow's Game 2 with a chance to advance to the College World Series in Oklahoma City with the victory. A loss and they'll play again immediately afterwards. The winner of Game 1 advances 84% of the time according to the ESPNU broadcast. You have to think this will be demoralizing to UL-Lafayette to lose a game that with two outs in the bottom of the 7th and up by five runs, they thought was in the bag.

We go to tomorrow. One win away from Oklahoma City and the College World Series.