Auburn Softball - fresh off a sweep of Georgia - returned home on a beautiful weekend to take on the Ole Miss Rebels in the friendly confines of Jane B. Moore Field. It wasn't always easy, but the Tigers still came away with the series victory.
Game 1: Auburn 3-1
Ole Miss struck first with a run in the 3rd inning, but that was all they were able to garner against Auburn ace Kaylee Carlson. Runs are at a premium when you're facing Carlson, and Friday night proved to be no exception.
The Tigers got all of their runs in the 4th inning. Kasey Cooper - who is showing signs of getting out of the slump she's been in of late with her weekend performance - got things started with a double. A Haley Fagan bunt single moved her over. Kendall Veach then drove her home on a grounder that actually resulted in the infielder attempting to throw Cooper out at home but actually hitting Cooper in the head with the ball. An Alyssa Rivera single to center field brought Fagan and Veach home to give us the final difference of 3-1.
Game 2: Ole Miss 4-10
Things did not go well for the Tigers Saturday evening as they stranded 12 batters throughout the course of the night and the Rebels hit Makayla Martin and Ashlee Swindle hard for 10 runs.
Auburn did briefly take the lead in the 2nd inning with 4 runs scored. Three of those runs came off the bat of Haley Fagan on a bomb of a home run that resulted in one of the best tweets of the weekend in any Auburn sport:
Haley Fagan hit that pitch like it coached Florida’s softball team.— Dave (@grantbland) April 8, 2017
Unfortunately, that one inning was all the Tigers could muster and Ole Miss tied the series up.
Game 3: Auburn 3-1
The Rebels again took an early lead thanks to a run scored on a throwing error in the 1st inning. For the Tigers, Kasey Cooper and Carlee Wallace were responsible for getting the Tigers going on Sunday. Carlee Wallace got on base with a single, and Kasey hit a triple to get her across the plate. Alyssa Rivera followed with a single of her own to score Cooper. It was a similar story in the 3rd when Carlee Wallace led off with a double and Kasey Cooper's single brought her home for the 3-1 score.
The Rebels threatened late, but for most of the game past the first inning, Kaylee Carlson was her usual shut-down self, retiring 13 in a row before a 1-out triple in the 6th. She retired the next two to keep a run off the board. The Rebels got one aboard in the 7th, but that was it as Carlson shut the Rebels down to give the Tigers the win.
There were promising signs at times this weekend as Kasey Cooper picked up a few hits. Getting her bat going will be a huge key for the Tigers going forward. As promising as that is, Makayla Martin's struggles in SEC play has got to be a bit concerning. That's particularly true when Auburn doesn't have Corey Myers around to help out with the struggles.
The Tigers next face Georgia State in Auburn on Wednesday evening before welcoming Missouri to town this weekend. They'll then play a newly-added game against Kennesaw State in Auburn on the 19th before hitting the road to take on South Carolina.