Auburn softball team wins two in Tiger Invitational

Feb. 14, 2014

Auburn
Auburn
(5-1-1)
 Feb. 14, 2014
1
2
3
4
5
F
 Marshall
0
0
3
0
2
5
 Auburn Tigers
5
1
2
11
X
19

Marshall
(0-2)
Auburn
Auburn
(6-1-1)
 Feb. 14, 2014
1
2
3
4
5
F
 Loyola
0
1
1
0
0
2
 Auburn Tigers
4
2
3
0
2
11

Loyola
(2-5)

AUBURN, Ala. - The Auburn University softball team dispatched Marshall and Loyola, 19-5 and 11-2 respectively, on the first day of the Tiger Invitational Friday. Both games ended after five innings when Auburn took over eight-run leads after the fifth inning, part of the 31 combined runs that were scored by the Tiger offense in both games.

The biggest offensive performance of the night came from juniors Branndi Melero and Morgan Estell. Both veterans totaled seven RBI in the two games on Friday with five coming against Marshall each. Six different players had multi-RBI nights on Friday. Following Melero and Estell were freshman Kasey Cooper, sophomore Emily Carosone, junior McKenzie Kilpatrick, sophomore Austyn West and freshman Jenna Abbott.

For Melero and Estell, Friday's performance continues their torrid pace to start 2014. Melero currently leads the team with 16 RBI, as Estell is closely behind with 13. Kilpatrick is the only other Auburn player to have a double-digit RBI total at this point in the season.

"For us to be successful this year, we're going to have to swing the bats," Auburn head coach Clint Myers said. "It's nice to see the bats working, one through nine. When we can score double-digits, that's a good sign for us."

In the circle, sophomore Lexi Davis picked up the win in game one against the Thundering Herd. Davis went four innings and gave up only three earned runs with three strikeouts. For Davis, it's her third win of the year and keeps her ERA for the season at 1.77.

Sophomore Marcy Harper got the start in game two against Loyola. She, also, had another stellar outing, going a complete five innings and giving up only two earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Since not being factored in the decision in the first two games of the season, Harper has had three-straight quality starts, giving up only six earned runs and tallying 10 strikeouts.

"Marcy's getting better," Myers said. "She's making quality pitches. We just have to keep her in the circle and each time she's going to get better and better."

Auburn didn't need much to get the game going against Marshall as it put up a five spot in the opening frame, getting a grand slam from Melero, her third homer of the year. The Tigers added one more after batting around and getting an RBI single from Carosone to score West.

After the Orange and Blue scored again in the second to make it 6-0, Marshall cut the lead in half in the third and looked to chase Davis from the circle early. However, Auburn responded in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two more runs on the backs of an Estell double to left-center, one of Estell's two hits in the game.

In the fourth inning, Auburn scored 11 runs to push their lead to 19-3. Many of the Tiger runs benefitted from the seven Marshall errors that were notched in the game, but, nonetheless, the Tigers posted their largest single-inning total (11) since scoring 11 against Kentucky on May 3, 2008. Auburn wouldn't get any more in the game, but the 19 runs scored was the most since it scored 19 against Mercer on Feb. 18, 2006.

In game two, Auburn, once again, jumped out to a lead, scoring four runs in the opening inning against Loyola. After a lead-off single by Carosone, Estell launched her third home run of the year to left field, giving the Tigers a quick two-run boost. Later in the inning, with Melero on second, West hit the team's second home run of the inning. The long ball was West's second of the young year and gave AU a 4-0 lead after one inning.

Much of the story in game two came from the pitching performance by Harper, as she allowed only one run in the second and third innings. She was able to get plenty of run support from her teammates as they continued to have a great offensive night, plating two runs in the second and three in the third to push their lead over the Ramblers to 9-2 after three innings.

Needing only one more run to get over the eight-run plateau, the Tigers scored two in the bottom of the fifth after Cooper singled home Estell and Carosone to end the game. Cooper finished the game 1-for-2 with her lone hit being the game winner.

"We've been preaching that you have to know your zone and you have to know the umpire's zone," Myers said. "Until you have to swing at the umpire's zone, we're going to swing at our zones. We did a pretty good job of that tonight."

Auburn returns to the field tomorrow for its second day of the Tiger Invitational at Jane B. Moore Field. It will face Nebraska-Omaha at 3:30 p.m., followed by its matchup with Western Illinois at 5:30 p.m. The first game of day two of the Tiger Invitational will feature Loyola against Marshall, starting at 9 a.m.

The Auburn games can be heard locally on WEGL 91.1 or online at AuburnTigers.com. Live video and live stats will also be available on AuburnTigers.com throughout the weekend for all games.

All home games at Jane B. Moore Field this year will require a purchased ticket unless otherwise specified. All ticket information can be found here on AuburnTigers.com.

For more information on Auburn softball, visit AuburnTigers.com, follow the team on Twitter @AuburnTigersSB or follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuburnSB.