Auburn softball started the week with a highly publicized postgame incident and the abrupt resignation of associate head coach Corey Myers. But the Tigers moved past that stressful stretch this weekend by making some program history.
The No. 5 Auburn softball program defeated No. 18 Georgia by a score of 4-3 on Sunday afternoon to complete its first-ever road sweep of the rival Bulldogs. The Tigers (31-5, 6-3 SEC) drilled 5 extra-base hits in the victory, including a pair of triples from sophomore first baseman Kendall Veach.
Auburn starting pitcher Kaylee Carlson improved to 18-1 on the season despite allowing 11 hits in the contest. She stranded eight Georgia runners in the victory — including two in a nervy 7th — as Auburn’s defense overcame a shaky start with several highlight-reel plays.
Auburn kept Georgia from taking the lead in the 4th and flipped momentum in the top of the 5th.
Auburn took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 4th inning, but the Bulldogs quickly tied things up with a few hard hits on Carlson. Georgia had runners at the corners with just one out, and then Alyssa Rivera happened for an Auburn defense that needed a boost.
The true freshman right fielder caught a fly ball and fired a perfect throw to the plate. Courtney Shea was there to put the tag on for the double play, which kept the game at 3-3.
Then, on the second at-bat of the 5th inning, Veach blasted her second triple of the game off the left field wall. Shea brought her home with a sacrifice groundout, and Auburn held that 4-3 lead the rest of the way.
Player of the game
RF Alyssa Rivera: 2-for-3 with 3 putouts and 1 assist
Player of the game was a tough call today between Veach and Rivera. While Veach had another powerful day at the plate with her 2 triples, let’s give the nod here to the true freshman right fielder.
Rivera continued her strong weekend of defense after not starting Game 1, and she had the play of the game in the bottom of the 4th when she gunned out a possible go-ahead run at the plate. Rivera made her third diving catch of the weekend later in the game — a big boost for what was a shaky defense Sunday.
The true freshman right fielder lost the starting job to Madi Gipson before the start of SEC play, but she came back strong against Georgia. Rivera added a consistent contact bat at the plate, giving her a fine weekend of action in Athens.
Auburn brings more power against a sharper Brittany Gray in Game 3.
In Game 1, Georgia ace Brittany Gray didn’t allow a single extra-base hit for Auburn but surrendered a huge number of free passes. In Game 3, she returned to the circle with better command, striking out 7 and just walking 1 batter.
But the Tigers, who powered their way to a huge win in Game 2, kept the big offense rolling Sunday afternoon. Veach had a pair of triples, and the trio of Carlee Wallace, Haley Fagan and Shea each socked doubles — most of them coming in the 3rd inning.
With Kasey Cooper struggling at the plate in SEC play, Auburn needs the rest of its lineup to bring the power against its conference rivals. The Tigers did that on Saturday and Sunday, and it went a long way in their first road sweep of the Bulldogs.
What’s next for Auburn softball
Auburn wraps up its 12-game road stretch with an in-state matchup.
The Tigers return to action Wednesday night against in-state foe Samford in Birmingham, Ala. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. The matchup will not be televised, so be sure to follow along here on SEC Country for live updates.