Auburn softball didn’t get back to being an offensive juggernaut Friday evening against Georgia. But the bats returned for the Tigers at just the right time in Athens.
No. 5 Auburn softball moved back above .500 in SEC play with a 7-5 road win over No. 18 Georgia, opening a three-game weekend series on the right foot. The Tigers scored their seven runs on just five hits — all singles — but they also drew 11 walks and three HBPs from Georgia starter Brittany Gray.
That small ball offense was enough for Auburn starter Kaylee Carlson, who took the circle for the first time since the abrupt resignation of pitching coach Corey Myers on Thursday night. After giving up a 2-run lead in the 5th, Carlson held on in the 6th and 7th to pick up her 17th victory of the season.
Auburn rebounded from a rough bottom of the 5th by jumping on Gray in the 6th.
Auburn’s first four runs of the game all came off of quick 2-out rallies in the 3rd and the 5th innings. But in the 6th, after the Bulldogs tied the game up, the Tigers quickly got to Gray.
Victoria Draper and Carlee Wallace hit back-to-back singles, and then a walk parade started. Gray walked Kasey Cooper and Haley Fagan before hitting Courtney Shea, which brought two runs to the plate. After a couple of outs, Casey McCrackin walked to bring home another run.
Georgia pulled one back in the bottom of the 6th after a McCrackin error and some good hitting. However, Carlson slammed the door shut on a rally with a strikeout to end the inning — with runners standing on second and third base.
Player of the game
1B Kendall Veach: 2-for-4 with 2 RBI
Auburn head coach Clint Myers said Thursday afternoon he wanted to see more consistency out of Veach, a power hitter who leads the team in home runs this season. The sophomore listened well and proved Friday night she can be a clutch contact hitter.
Veach brought two runners home for Auburn with an RBI single in the 3rd inning. The Tigers didn’t have a single baserunner until they got two outs, and they kept things alive until Veach could make it 3-0 with a well-struck ball into left field.
She came through again for Auburn with two outs in the 5th by looping a single and advancing to second on the Georgia throw. Two batters later, McCrackin walked with the bases loaded to give Auburn a 4-2 lead. While she struck out on her final two plate appearances, Veach delivered in some key spots.
What’s next for Auburn softball
Auburn looks for its third straight SEC win Saturday night in a nationally televised showdown with Georgia.
Game 2 of the Auburn-Georgia series will start an hour later — 7 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. CT — but it will be televised on ESPN. Makayla Martin will get the start for the Tigers in the circle.