March 20, 2011
Auburn, Ala. - Senior Kyndall White ripped a one-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift No. 23 Auburn softball to a 3-2 victory over South Carolina and complete a series sweep of the Gamecocks.
Auburn improved 25-4 overall and 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina moved to 16-12 overall and 3-7 in the SEC. The Tigers return to action Wednesday, March 23, against South Alabama in Mobile. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. CT.
White's solo home run was her fourth of the season and the 26th home run of her career. It was White's first walk-off hit of the season and the fourth walk-off hit of her career.
"Our senior came through for us today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Kyndall has been in these situations before and come through for us. Angel did a terrific job. She didn't give them a walk and they never really hit her hard. This was a great win for us and I'm really proud of the way we hung tough and fought through adversity."
Angel Bunner started and earned the win to improve to 7-1. Bunner pitched eight innings, allowed one run, earned, on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Bunner was lifted in the seventh inning, with no outs, but came back in to pitch the final two innings in the eighth inning.
Jenee Loree relieved Bunner with Auburn leading 2-0 in the seventh. Loree went one inning, allowing one run, earned, on two hits with no walks and one strikeout.
Julie Sarratt (4-4) went the distance and took the loss for South Carolina. Sarratt allowed three runs, all earned, on 11 hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Pitching dominated in the series finale. The Gamecocks were held to just one hit through the first six innings of play. Bunner did not issue a walk and retired the side in order in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.
Despite having six hits and drawing three walks, the Tigers stranded seven runners on base through five innings. Auburn put the leadoff hitter on the bottom of the second (walk), fourth (single) and fifth (single), but was unable to push a run across.
The Tigers finally broke the scoring drought in the sixth. Lauren Guzman blooped a single in shallow left field to open the frame. Kelley Smiley failed to advance Guzman when she popped up a bunt attempt to catcher for the first out of the inning. Kelsey Cartwright followed with a single to left to put runners at second and first. A walk to Katie Colton loaded the bases for Hilary Mavromat who continued the trend with a single to shallow left to push Guzman across the plate for a 1-0 Auburn lead.
With the bases still loaded and one out, Estell made it a 2-0 game with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Cartwright from third. That would be the last run the Tigers scored as White flew out to center to end the inning.
In the top of the seventh, the Gamecocks put the leadoff hitter on when Hannah Milks doubled to the wall in center. That chased Bunner from the game and brought Loree in to pitch. On a 2-1 pitch, Dana Hathorn ripped a double down the line in left to score Milks and cut the Auburn lead to 2-1.
Kaitlin Westfall successfully put down a sac bunt to move Hathorn to third with just one out. On a 2-2 pitch, Loree picked up the second out of the inning when Chelsea Hawkins could not check her swing and was punched out. Loree's first pitch to Evan Childs sailed wide and allowed Hathorn to easily score from third to tie the game. The Tigers ended the Gamecocks' rally with a ground out to first from Sarratt.
The Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the seventh to set up White's walk-off homer in the ninth inning.