Feb. 9, 2013
Auburn, Ala. - The Auburn softball team rallied from a pair of deficits to defeat Kent State 5-3 Saturday in the second day of the Plainsman Invitational.
Auburn improved to 3-0 with the win and will play Army at 11:30 a.m. and Austin Peay at 2 p.m. Sunday. Kent State dropped to 1-1.
"I'm really proud of the way we fought back twice today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We had a lot of different people step up and come through with big plays. Austyn (West) delivered a big home run and Brooke (Lathan) came through in the seventh. This was a good win for us, but we have to keep improving."
Marcy Harper started and earned the win to improve to 2-0. Harper went six and one-third innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Hilary Mavromat earned her first save, recording the final two outs of the game with the tying runs aboard.
Emma Johnson (0-1) took the loss in a complete-game effort. Johnson allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits with five walks and eight strikeouts.
Kent State jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. Kim Kirkpatrick drew a leadoff walk and moved to third when left fielder Tiffany Howard dropped a fly ball off the bat of Dani Ramos. With runners at second and third, Abbey Ledford loaded the bases with a bloop single. After a strikeout, Shelby Tilton laced a single to left to score Kirkpatrick and Ramos to give Kent State a 2-0 lead.
A wild pitch moved Ledford to third and Tilton to second, but the Tigers worked out of the jam as Carrie Kilbane flied out to left for the second out and Rocker quickly fired home to nail Ledford at the plate for the third out.
The Tigers mounted a scoring threat in the top of the second, loading the bases with two outs. Emily Carosone reached on an error and took second on a single by Caitlin Schutlze. A two-out walk to Kelsey Bogaards loaded the bases, but Johnson ended the scoring threat when she fanned Howard.
Branndi Melero put the Tigers on the board with a two-out, RBI triple in the top of the fifth inning. Bogaards singled to open the inning and advanced to third after a pair of ground outs. Melero then laced a triple to the wall in center to plate Bogaards and cut the deficit to 2-1. Brooke Lathan followed with a walk to put runners on the corners.
After Lathan stole second, Caitlin Jordan took ball four on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. On the first pitch to pinch-hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick, catcher Erika Warren let the pitch get by her allowing Melero to score the tying run on a passed ball. The rally ended, however, when Kilpatrick popped up on the next pitch for the third out.
Kent State quickly regained the leading, taking advantage of a sacrifice fly from Ledford that plated Kirkpatrick (single) from third for a 3-2 lead in the bottom half of the fifth.
The Tigers responded in the top of the sixth when Austyn West cranked her first career home run, a one-out, solo shot, over the wall in left to tie the game at 3-3.
With the game tied after six innings, Morgan Estell drew a walk to open the top of the seventh to represent the go-ahead run. Melero then hit a ground ball that shortstop Abbey Ledford threw wildly to first, allowing Estell to advance to third. Melero took second on the play as the defense turned its attention to Estell at third. On the next pitch, Lathan hit a single past short to score both runners and give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Harper forced Lauren Kesterson to ground out to second on a 3-2 pitch for the first out of the inning before allowing Kirkpatrick to single to shallow center. Ramos followed with single through the left side to put runners at second and first with one out.
Mavromat was then brought in to relieve Harper. On a 2-2 pitch to Ledford, Mavromat was wild to the plate allowing the runners to advance. On the next pitch, however, Ledford lined out to Jordan at first for the second out of the inning. Kim Morgason was then put in to pinch-hit, but was unable to deliver as she ground out to Mavromat to end the game.