Auburn, AL (WIAT) – The South Carolina Gamecocks rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh to claim a 3-1 win over Auburn softball Sunday in the series finale.
Auburn dropped to 28-20 overall and 7-14 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina improved to 25-20 overall and 4-14 in the SEC. The Tigers return to action Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. against Appalachian State.
“This was a disappointing loss,” Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. “We didn’t really generate anything offensively. We let things slip away from us in the seventh and we couldn’t recover. South Carolina took advantage of what we gave them today.”
Marcy Harper took the loss in relief to fall to 15-9. Harper allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits with one strikeout in three innings of work. Lexi Davis started and went four innings, allowing one run, earned, on seven hits with no walks or strikeouts.
Julie Sarratt improved to 8-5 with the complete-game victory. Sarratt scattered four hits, allowing one run, earned, with two walks and seven strikeouts.
South Carolina took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a two-out RBI single by Shelby Gonzales. Olivia Lawrence reached on a one-out double to left and was lifted for pinch-runner Brooke Barnhill. After a wild pitch moved Barnhill to third, Gonzales brought home the first run of the game.
The Tigers put two on with one out in the bottom of second. Branndi Melero led off with a single to right and was followed by a one-out walk to Caitlin Schultze. Sarratt, however, was able to end the threat when she got a called third strike on Jade Rhodes and a swinging strikeout of Kelsey Bogaards to end the inning.
The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the fifth. Auburn put the tying run on when Bogaards drew a one-out walk. Sarratt was able to retire Morgan Estell on a one-pitch at-bat when Estell flied out to center for the second out of the inning. On a 2-2 pitch, Tiffany Howard laced a double to the wall in left that easily scored Bogaards to tie the game 1-1. That would be all the Tigers would score, however, as Sarratt forced Carosone to fly out to right to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Codee Yeske led off with a double off the wall in left. Samie Garcia followed with a sacrifice bunt that moved Yeske to third with one out. On a 1-0 pitch to Alaynie Page, the Gamecocks put the squeeze on but Page was unable to execute. Schultze fired to third as Yeske raced back, but Carosone was unable to field the throw as Yeske reached the base safely. Page made the next pitch count as she doubled off the wall to left to score Yeske for a 2-1 South Carolina lead. Page was able to take third on the play as Bogaards was unable to field the relay throw from Melero in left.
After a ground out, Chelsea Hawkins hit a ground ball to Bogaards at shortstop who fired wildly to first for an error, which allowed Page to score and push the lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, Schultze worked ahead 3-1 but Sarratt was able to battle back and get a called third strike for the first out. Pinch-hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick followed and grounded out to Yeske at third base for the second out. Sarratt then ended the game on a swinging strikeout of Bogaards to give the Gamecocks the series win.
(Courtesy: Auburn Athletics)