March 21, 2014
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Clint Myers wishes his Auburn softball team had pounced on Mississippi State earlier than the fourth inning Friday night.
"It gives an old guy a bit of indigestion waiting so long," he said.
Ah, but Auburn had the cure. The Tigers scored eight runs in the fourth, added three more in the sixth and beat the Bulldogs 11-3 at Jane B. Moore Field.
Auburn improved to 27-4-1 overall and 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference with a 1 p.m. Saturday game against Mississippi State in the immediate future. The Bulldogs fell to 22-9 overall and 1-6 in the league.
The runs, the record, sound good for Auburn, but Myers was still looking for a faster start, even when it was over.
"If you look at this ball club, the second or third time through the lineup we start getting darn tough. The things we've got to do a little bit better and a little bit earlier is to make those adjustments," Myers said.
The decisive fourth inning featured, in order, a 2-run single by Jenna Abbott, an RBI single from Emily Carosone, a 2-run single by Morgan Estell, an RBI single from Kasey Cooper and a 2-run double by Branndi Melero.
Carosone was in the middle of it again in the sixth when she blasted a 2-run homer before Melero's game-ending RBI single.
The fourth was the big inning, however.
"We were just ready to hit," Carosone said. "It was the fourth inning, we had seen the pitches and we were ready to go. We shouldn't have waited that long."
In the sixth? "We just wanted to finish them up. We didn't want to give them a chance to hit."
Lexi Davis went the distance, improving her record to 14-4. Jacey Punches allowed 5 runs in one-third of an inning to fall to 6-1.
Myers said Auburn showed "no quit. They fought the entire time."
And he liked the way Auburn was hitting the ball hard.
"You look at the 8-run inning, we didn't hit a ball over their head. It was all line-drive ground balls. That's what we tell the girls every day," Myers said.
Auburn won in its return to SEC play after an almost two-week layoff from league play. Myers said that didn't matter.
"This isn't a conference game. This is a softball game, and regardless of who we play our philosophy and mentality and expectations of the game are the same," Myers said. "Good defense...good pitching...and timely hitting. That's a pretty good formula for success.
"Sometimes with a young team like this you get wrapped up in who you're playing and not what you're playing. We take the personality out of it as much as we possibly can, and say, 'Hey, listen, this is a softball game. Do the things we prepare for.'"
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine