March 30, 2012
Oxford, Miss. - Brooke Lathan drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs as the No. 24 Auburn softball team rallied from a three-run deficit to claim a 9-5 win in 10 innings over Ole Miss in the Friday night series opener.
Auburn improved to 25-11 overall and 4-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss dropped to 14-17 overall and 2-7 in the SEC. The Tigers and Rebels play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
"This was a big win for us," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Ole Miss really took the momentum when they took the lead in the second inning. But our team hung in there and really fought. Lauren Schmalz did a great job for us tonight. She really kept them from getting anything going and when they did put runners on, she got tough and shut them down."
Lauren Schmalz earned the win in relief to improve to 7-4. Schmalz pitched six and two-thirds innings, scattering five hits, issuing two walks and striking out five. Jenee Loree started and went three and one-third innings. Loree allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Kendall Bruning took the loss in a complete-game effort to fall to 11-9. Bruning allowed nine runs (six earned) on eight hits with seven walks and five strikeouts in 10 innings of work.
Auburn jumped out to the early lead in the top of the second inning. Caitlin Jordan drew a one-out walk and took second on a ground out by Amber Harrison. Lathan singled up the middle to move Jordan to third, and alertly took second when the relay throw went to third. Caitlin Schultze followed and drew a walk with ball four coming on a wild pitch.
Jordan raced home for Auburn's first run on the wild pitch and Lathan took third. Schultze aggressively took second on the play, drawing a throw from the catcher which allowed Lathan to score, giving Auburn a 2-0 lead.
Ole Miss responded in the bottom half of the second, scoring four runs to take the lead. Londen Ladner drew a leadoff walk and took second on a sac bunt. After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Marina Parra drew a walk to put runners on second and first. Amanda Hutcheson then chopped a pitch into the ground in front of home plate that was high enough to allow everyone to advance and load the bases.
Cali Overbeck followed with a hard-hit double to center that cleared the bases to give Ole Miss a 3-2 lead. Corrine Doornberg then hit a slow roller that Jordan overran for an error. As the ball rolled into the hole at second, Overbeck scored to give Ole Miss a 4-2 edge.
The Rebels added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Erinn Jayjohn doubled with one out to chase Loree from the game and Schmalz gave up consecutive singles to Parra and Hutcheson to load the bases. Overbeck made it a 5-2 game with a single to center that scored Jayjohn. Schmalz picked up the second out of the inning when Doornberg lined out to Schultze at third base. Schmalz ended the Ole Miss rally with a strikeout of Bruning who pinch-hit for Brittany Broome.
The Tigers rallied to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning. Elizabeth Eisterhold drew a leadoff walk and was lifted for pinch-runner Kristyn Richards. Hilary Mavromat followed with a single to center that moved Richards to third. Mavromat took second on the relay throw and was then lifted for pinch-runner Maris Medina.
The Rebels got the first out of the inning when Jordan flied out to left field. Amber Harrison pushed Richards home with a sacrifice fly to left that cut it a 5-3 game. A wild pitch moved Medina to third with two outs. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, Lathan worked the count to 3-2 and then cranked a game-tying home run to right. It was Lathan's fifth home run of the season.
In the top of the 10th, Mavromat doubled to open the inning and, after a fly out, took third on a ground out to second. Lathan came to the plate and Ole Miss set up to intentionally walk the AU second baseman. After one pitch out, Bruning threw home but the pitch was not off the plate enough as Lathan reached out and hit the ball between the pitcher's circle and first base. Mavromat raced home, easily beating the throw to give the Tigers s 6-5 lead.
Pinch-hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick followed with a walk to put runners at second and first. A wild pitch moved both runners up and on a swinging third strike of Baylee Stephens, catcher Marina Parra allowed the ball to scoot to the backstop. Lathan scored on the play to push the Auburn lead to 7-5. Kilpatrick took third on the play and scored two pitchers later on a wild pitch, making it an 8-5 game. Stephens took third on the wild pitch and came in to score on a single up the middle by Lauren Guzman, giving Auburn a 9-5 edge.
In the bottom of the 10th, Schmalz notched the first out of the inning when Cantillo flied out to Harrison in right. Schmalz then forced Ladner to fly out to Stephens in left for the second out of the inning, and closed the door on the win when Allison Brown flied out to right.