March 23, 2012
Auburn, Ala. - The Kentucky Wildcats rallied from a four-run deficit to claim an 8-4 victory in eight innings over the No. 21 Auburn softball team.
Auburn drops to 23-8 overall and 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Kentucky improved to 14-15 and 1-3 in the SEC with the victory. The Tigers and Wildcats continue the series with a 1 p.m. CT game Saturday.
"We've got to come out tomorrow and play better," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "We got up early and couldn't hold the lead. You can't waste four-run leads."
Angel Bunner took the loss in relief to fall to 9-2. Bunner allowed five runs, all earned, on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts in three and one-third innings. Lauren Schmalz started and went four and two-thirds, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits with three walks and one strikeout.
Chanda Bell earned the win in relief to improve to 8-4. Bell scattered three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in four and two-thirds scoreless innings.
Elizabeth Eisterhold gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning. Lauren Guzman reached on an error and took second on a sac bunt from Brooke Lathan. Eisterhold followed with a double to the wall in left that drove in her 30th run of the season.
Eisterhold made it a 4-0 game in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run home run over the wall in left. The homer came with Lathan (walk) aboard and was Eisterhold's 10th of the season and 32nd of her career.
Kentucky broke the shutout bid with a two-out rally in the top of the fifth. Emily Jolly cranked a solo home run for the first run of the inning. It was Jolly's second home run of the season and it cut the Auburn lead to 4-1. After a single through the left side by Kara Dill, Brittany Cervantes hit a towering two-run homer to left that made it a 4-3 game.
Rachel Riley followed the homer with a double off the wall in left to put the tying run at second base. Bunner relieved Schmalz after the double and forced a ground out to end the inning with the Tigers holding a one run lead at 4-3.
The Wildcats tied the game in the top of the sixth inning. Ginny Carroll was hit by a pitch to open the inning and a pair of wild pitches moved Carroll to third with just one out. Pinch-hitter Emily Gaines laced a 2-2 pitch through the right side to score Carroll and tie the game 4-4.
Carroll led off the top of the eighth with single to center that Branndi Melero over-ran while fielding, allowing Carroll to reach third. Alice O'Brien followed with a hard-hit double to the wall in right that scored Carroll to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead.
A ground out moved O'Brien to third and a single to left by Jolly gave Kentucky a 6-4 lead. A single by Dill put runners at third and second with two outs and a sharp single up the middle by Cervantes plated both runners to make it an 8-4 game.
Bell retired the Tigers in order in the bottom of the eighth to complete the come-from-behind victory.