By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Her teammates rallied behind Carlee Wallace before the game, and the Auburn catcher got the message.
Wallace drove in four runs and Auburn beat Georgia 13-2 in a Top 25 softball game Saturday that may have lacked the dramatics of the Tigers' walk-off win over the Bulldogs on Friday night, but was every bit as important for a team streaking to the finish line of the SEC season before tournament play begins.
Wallace gets all of that.
Pitcher Makayla Martin left a message in her locker before the game saying the team believed in her. "She said no matter what I think about myself, the team thinks I'm awesome and I just need to go out and do what I need to do."
Assistant coach Corey Myers offered some advice, too.
"Corey told me that he was going to make me run for every popup that I hit," Wallace said with a smile. "There was no ifs, ands and buts. I had to get the job done, or I'd be running for a while."
Not this Saturday. Wallace drove in two in the second inning and two more in the third. Auburn beat Georgia 4-3 Friday when Kasey Cooper hit a two-out 3-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. Saturday was much easier. Wallace had four RBIs, Emily Carosone had a bases-clearing double and Madi Gipson hit a 2-run homer. Auburn scored two in the first, three in second, four in the third and four in the fourth to secure the run-rule victory.
Auburn, ranked as high as No. 2 nationally, improved to 44-5 overall and 14-3 in the SEC. No. 12 Georgia fell to 37-12 overall and 9-8 in the league.
Wallace carried a big bat through the postseason last year. This year? "It's no secret that I've been struggling a little bit," she said.
"It's all about confidence. I kind of lost that a little bit. A lot of people wonder why because of past success."
But Wallace said she spoke to members of her family. They said press on.
"I feel like I'm back. I'm ready to contribute, not only defense, but offense, too," Wallace said.
"Carlee is only a sophomore, and look at good she is," said coach Clint Myers.
Myers said Friday's dramatic win carried over to Saturday's game.
"Between the crowd and the players, the whole focus was to come out and continue that energy," Myers said. "The crowd was in it early. We were in it early. The big thing is we were able to carry the momentum through the five innings. We got the pitching we needed, we played defense like we're supposed to and we really got timely hitting."
Tiffany Howard and Jade Rhodes also had RBIs for Auburn. Carosone padded her school hit-by-pitch record by getting hit two more times. That's 77 in her career.
Martin improved to 11-0. Georgia starter Brittany Gray fell to 10-7.
The Tigers will go for the series sweep at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him at Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine