The name of the game was the long ball, and it was the usual suspects behind it for the Tigers.
After FSU took an early 1-0 lead in the Top 1st, the Tigers put two runners on base and little Carlee "Clutch" Wallace came through in the post-season as she has often done and launched a 3-run shot to give the Tigers the 3-1 lead.
FSU powered back, though, cutting Auburn's lead in the 2nd, then tying up the game. In the 3rd FSU took a brief 4-3 lead thanks to some errors and mistakes by the Tigers that the Seminoles took advantage of. Things were looking a bit sketchy for Auburn at that point in the game.
The game turned in the Bottom 3rd, though, as Carlee Wallace and Emily Carosone got on base and set up an opportunity for Jade Rhodes. She took full advantage of it, launching an absolute blast to deep left field to give Auburn the 6-4 lead. The ball was hit so hard that Jade knew it was gone from the moment it left the bat.
CRUSHED IT! Jade Rhodes sends a no-doubter over the left field fence for a three-run BOMB! #WCWS pic.twitter.com/JeZQHzUU2B— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 6, 2016
For the first time in the game, the Tigers got the Seminoles 3-up/3-down in the Top 4th. Auburn came to bat and quickly got two outs as Victoria Draper and Tiffany Howard both popped out. Then Kasey Cooper came to the plate. It has so often seemed this year that when Jade or Kasey hits a home run, the other responds. Kasey did just that, launching her 20th home run of the season to break the Auburn record and give her yet another place in the Tigers' record books and giving Auburn the 7-4 lead.
FSU rallied in the Top 6th, putting two runners on base and threatening. With 1 out, a ball was hit into the gap in left center that looked destined for a multi-base hit. Victoria Draper wasn't having any of that, though. Draper made a spectacular diving grab that deserves to be on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays.
INSANE GRAB VICTORIA DRAPER!!! #WCWS #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/XvQ1F7yq5F— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 6, 2016
The inning wasn't over, yet, though. The Tigers loaded the bases with FSU bringing Alex Powers, the ACC's Player of the Year to the plate. Rachel Walters worked her into an 0-2 count that feature foul ball after foul ball until finally getting her to pop out into left field for the final out of the inning.
It wouldn't be Auburn sports without a little drama, though.
Auburn couldn't add any insurance in the Bottom 6th, but went into the Top 7th with Rachel Walters back on the mound. The Seminoles put the first batter on base, then a walk, then a 3-run home run for Florida State tied the game at 7 for the Seminoles with no outs. The Seminoles managed to load the bases with 2 outs for Alex Powers to come to the plate yet again. Fortunately for Rachel Walters, Powers grounded out to Whitney Jordan to end the inning.
There was nothing doing for the Tigers in the Bottom 7th, and the game went to extras. The Seminoles got the first batter on with a walk, advanced her to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, and then Kaycee Carlson sat the next two batters down on strike outs.
In the Bottom 8th, Madi Gipson got things started with a hard hit ball into left field that bounced off the left fielder and sent Gipson all the way around to 3rd with no outs. Whitney Jordan came to the plate next and chopped a ball to third. Morgan Podany, pinch running for Gipson, was sent home on the play and barely slid around the tag of the FSU catcher to give Jordan the fielder's choice RBI and the Auburn victory!
With the win, the Auburn Tigers advance to the Championship Series for the first time in school history. They will play the winner of the Oklahoma/LSU series. Game 1 of that series is played immediately following tonight's Auburn/FSU game. If LSU wins that, Game 2 will be played tomorrow evening, with the Championship Series pushed to Tuesday. Should Oklahoma win tonight, Auburn and Oklahoma will start the Championship Series tomorrow night.
What an amazing ride this season has been. Auburn Softball is 2 wins away from a National Championship. Finish the drill, ladies!