March 28, 2006
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -
Junior Beth DiPietro threw her second career no hitter as the 17th-ranked Auburn softball team defeated Florida, 2-1, in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday at the Florida Softball Stadium. The Tigers, however, fell in game two, 5-4, in a nine-inning affair.
DiPietro struck out five and walked six in Auburn's third no hitter of the season. It marked the second of her career and first since 2004 when defeating Ole Miss.
Of the 14 no hitters in Auburn's history, five have now come against Southeastern Conference teams; three were against Ole Miss. DiPietro's no hitter Tuesday was the first against an SEC Eastern Division foe.
"Beth was a little off the plate, but that ultimately helped her keep the Florida batters off balance," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "She got behind a few batters, but battled, and the offense came through in the end."
DiPietro's win, her 10th of the season, was not guaranteed, however, until the seventh inning until Holly Currie's game-winning single. The Tigers fell behind, 1-0, in the fourth when DiPietro walked Florida's Lacy Howard with the bases loaded.
The Tigers managed two hits and five walks through the first six innings, but trailed until the seventh when senior Ashley Griffin singled up the middle, scoring freshman Taryn Gray from third. Gray had singled to start the inning, then moved to third when junior Kristina McCain doubled over the right fielder's head.
Three batters later, Currie singled up the middle, effectively giving Auburn its sixth conference win of the season.
Stacey Wilson, whom the Tigers touched for two runs and four hits in 1 2/3 innings, took the loss and fell to 8-6 on the year.
Fernandez hit a two-run home run in the fourth, her fourth shot of the season, to put the Tigers up early. The Tigers scored later in the third when freshman Myesha Finney
reached on a fielding error.
Fernandez struck again the fifth when the Miami stroked a single to center, scoring senior Ashley Griffin from second.
The Gators' answered back in their half of the fifth with three runs, the first two coming on a double by Lindsey Cameron to left. The left fielder later scored on a wild pitch, pulling Florida to within one.
The Gators then tied it in the sixth when Kim Waleszonia singled up the middle. Brooke Johnson, who began the inning with a double, barely beat the throw from center fielder Amy Shaw.
Florida won it in the ninth with a single by Johnson down the left field line that scored Melissa Zick from second.
Fernandez finished 4 for 4 with three RBI in the loss, while McCain and Currie each finished with two hits.
Currie started the second game for the Tigers and threw 7 1/3 innings, striking out 11 while walking five. Of her 22 appearances this season, she has struck out 10 or more in 11 of them.
DiPietro worked in relief of Currie and fell to 10-4 on the year. DiPietro struck out one, walked one and allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings.
The Tigers and Gators will finish off the three-game series Wednesday with a solo contest that begins at 2 p.m. EST. The game can be heard live on www.auburntigers.com and WZMG-AM (910). After the game, Auburn will then head to Tallahassee, Fla., to conclude its four-game road trip with a 1 p.m. game against Florida State Thursday.
TIGER NOTES: The Tigers wore their white uniforms for both games and are 10-3 in them this season ... Before the game, the newest ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Collegiate Poll came out and the Tigers moved up to 17th from No. 18 ... Auburn has 172 points in the new poll ... In the SEC, Alabama is No. 4, Tennessee is sixth, Georgia is No. 10, LSU is 12th and Mississippi State rounds out the conference's contribution to the top 25 at No. 22 ... The Tigers are 12-6 in the month of March this season ... They were 16-4 last season.