Softball Sweeps First Day of War Eagle Classic


March 1, 2013

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Auburn, Ala. - The Auburn softball team improved to 14-4 with a pair of wins in the first day of the War Eagle Classic tournament. Auburn defeated Middle Tennessee 7-3 and beat Gardner-Webb 10-0 in five innings.

"I thought we came out ready to swing the bats and get after it today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Branndi (Melero) is on fire right now. We swung the bats well all the way through the lineup. We need to carry this over to tomorrow and be ready for another big day."

In the second game of the day, Auburn scored 10 runs on 13 hits to cruise to a 10-0 win over Gardner-Webb (3-5).

Marcy Harper started and earned the win to improve to 5-2. Harper scattered four hits, did not issue a walk and struck out four.

Ashley Ryne started and took the loss to fall to 1-3. Ryne allowed six runs, all earned, on eight hits with four walks and one strikeout.

Auburn jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as each of the first three batters reached and scored. Morgan Estell singled, Branndi Melero walked and Brooke Lathan brought them both home with a double that gave Auburn a 2-0 lead.

After the first out was recorded, Emily Carosone singled to right field to plate Lathan and push the lead to 3-0. Caitlin Schultze was hit by a pitch and McKenzie Kilpatrick drew a walk to load the bases. Baylee Stephens made it 4-0 with an RBI ground out to third base.

The Tigers added to their lead in the top of the second. Carosone picked up her second RBI of the day on a single to left that scored Estell (walk) to make it a 5-0 game.

Caitlin Jordan gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Melero singled to open the inning and quickly stole second. A ground out moved her to third and Jordan brought her home with a single to right field.

The Tigers broke the game open in the top of the fifth when Melero cranked a three-run home run to left for a 9-0 lead. It was Melero's fifth home run of the season, second of the day and it came with Kelsey Bogaards (single) and Estell (fielder's choice) aboard. After a double by Lathan and a single by Jordan put runners at first and third, Carosone made it 10-0 with a single that plated Lathan and would cap the scoring for the game.

In the first game of the day, Auburn got home runs from Branndi Melero and Baylee Stephens to post a 7-3 victory over Middle Tennessee (0-11).

Hilary Mavromat improved to 5-0, earning the win in relief. Mavromat pitched five and one-third innings, scattering four hits and striking out two. Lexi Davis started and went one and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on four hits with two walks and one strikeout.

Jordyn Fisherback took the loss to fall to 0-6. Fisherback started and allowed seven runs, four earned, on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings.

Middle Tennessee jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Niki Campbell doubled to right field and then stole third. She was followed by Nina Davenport who walked. Kristi Marquez followed with a towering three-run homer to center. It was Marquez's second home run of the season.

The Tigers rallied in the bottom of the fifth. Caitlin Schultze led off with an infield single and was lifted for pinch-runner Tiffany Howard. After a pair of pop-ups, Kelsey Bogaards laced a single to left to put runners at second and first. Morgan Estell then took ball four on a 3-1 count to load the bases. Branndi Melero followed with a grand slam, taking a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center, to give Auburn a 4-3 lead. It was Melero's fourth home run of the season.

Auburn took advantage of an MTSU error to increase its lead in the sixth inning. Caitlin Jordan reached and advanced to second when Davenport dropped her fly ball in left field. Kristyn Richards was put in to run for Jordan and took second on a sac bunt by Tiffany Howard. Austyn West followed with a single to center to score Richards and make it 5-3. Baylee Stephens then made it 7-3 with a two-run home run to right. It was Stephens' first home run of the season.

Mavromat shut the door on the Blue Raiders in the top of the seventh to seal the victory for the Tigers.