April 14, 2012
Gainesville, Fla. -
For the second consecutive day the Auburn softball team was unable to complete a seventh-inning rally as the No. 3 Florida Gators held on for a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon.
Auburn's record dropped to 26-17 overall and 5-13 in the Southeastern Conference. Florida improved to 37-5 overall and 17-2 in the SEC. The Tigers and Gators conclude the series Sunday at noon CT.
"This was a game controlled by the pitchers for the most part," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Florida was able to put up a couple of runs, but never really hit Jenee hard. We had a tough time with their pitcher until the seventh inning when we got a couple hits. Both games have been very close and come down to the wire. We've got to put them behind us and re-focus on tomorrow's game."
Jenee Loree started and took the loss to fall to 8-7. Loree allowed three runs, all earned, on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in five and one-third innings. Hilary Mavromat went two-thirds of an inning without allowing a hit or walk.
Lauren Haeger improved to 11-2 with the complete-game win. Haeger allowed one run, earned, on two hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts.
Pitching dominated as the game's first hit didn't come until the bottom of the fourth inning. The Tigers put a base runner on with a two-out walk to Caitlin Jordan in the top of the first, but Haeger settled into a groove and retired the next 17 consecutive Auburn batters.
The Gators put two runners on in the bottom of the first, getting an HBP and walk with two outs, but Loree found her groove and retired nine straight.
Florida got the game's first hit on a two-out bloop single from Kelsey Horton in the bottom of the fourth. Loree, however, left Horton stranded as she forced a ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
Florida broke the scoreless drought in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Katie Medina and Kasey Fagan delivered consecutive singles to left to put runners at second and first. Michelle Moultrie followed with a double to center that scored both runners for a 2-0 Florida lead.
The Gators extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Haeger led off with a single and was lifted for pinch-runner Briana Little. With one out, Loree got Bailey Castro on a swinging third strike but the pitch sailed wide allowing Castro to reach on a wild pitch. Little took third on the play. Ensley Gammel then hit a ground ball to second that Brooke Lathan fielded and quickly fired home, but Little scored ahead of the tag to give Florida 3-0 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Haeger seemed unhittable after forcing Lathan to line out to shortstop for the first out of the inning. Jordan, however, delivered a solo home run that sailed well over the centerfield wall for Auburn's first hit and run of the game. It was Jordan's eighth home run of the season and second of the series.
Haeger recovered to force Mavromat to pop up to second base for the second out of the inning. Elizabeth Eisterhold followed with a single through the left side which brought the tying run to the plate. Haeger ended the Tigers' rally, however, when she got Branndi Melero on a swinging third strike to end the game.