March 17, 2012
Athens, Ga. -
The eighth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs broke a tie game with a three-run fifth inning to claim a 6-3 victory over No. 20 Auburn softball Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped Auburn to 23-5 overall and 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia improved to 22-5 overall and 3-2 in SEC play. The win pulled Georgia even in the weekend series after Auburn took game one 2-0 on Friday night. The teams concluded the series Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT.
"Our kids fought hard in this game," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "The game just got away from us a little bit in the fifth inning. This is a game we can learn from and hopefully it makes us better."
Angel Bunner took her first loss of the season to fall to 9-1. In four and one-third innings, Bunner allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits with no walks, three strikeouts and two hit batters. Lauren Schmalz threw the final one and two-thirds innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Tess Sito earned the win in relief to improve to 6-0. Sito pitched the final two and two-thirds innings allowing one hit and no walks. Sito struck out four.
Elizabeth Eisterhold gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. Eisterhold's shot, which cleared the fence in center, came with Lauren Guzman aboard. Guzman reached on a leadoff single and moved to second on a sac bunt from Brooke Lathan.
The Tigers put the first two hitters on in the top of the third. Branndi Melero drew a walk and was followed by Guzman who singled through the left side. Lathan put down a sac bunt that moved Melero to third and Guzman to second with one out. But Eisterhold went down on a swinging third strike and Caitlin Jordan to line out to short to strand the runners on base and end the inning.
The Bulldogs rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Anna Swafford and Niaja Griffin each singled to open the frame and Ashley Pauly was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Tess Sito grounded into a double-play, but Swafford and Griffin each scored to even the game at 2-2.
With two outs, Kristyn Sandberg singled to shallow left and came around to score on a double to the wall in right-center by Ashley Razey. Sandberg's run gave Georgia a 3-2 lead.
Guzman tied the game with a one-out, RBI double in the top of the fifth inning. Melero reached on a one-out single and came around to score on Guzman's sixth double of the season, tying the game at 3-3.
In the bottom of the fifth, Griffin reached on a throwing error by Guzman to open the frame and moved to second when Pauly was hit by a pitch. Sito followed with a bunt to advance the runners, but reached first when Bunner threw to third to put out Griffin, who beat the throw. Sandberg then lofted a single to shallow right to score Griffin for a 4-3 Georgia lead.
With the bases still loaded, Razey hit a sac fly to left that scored Pauly. Sito took third on the throw and, when Auburn tagged second base on appeal that she left second early, raced home to score the third UGA run of the inning, making it a 6-3 game.
Sito retired the Tigers in order in the sixth inning and the first two hitters in the seventh before giving up a single to Melero. With a runner at first, Sito ended the game when she fanned Guzman on a swinging strike three.