April 26, 2014
Auburn's Marcy Harper shuts down Texas A&M on a three-hitter (Emily Enfinger photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- For a team that had to resort to a grand slam and then the game-winning homer in the final inning Friday, Saturday was an absolute walk in the park for the Auburn softball team.
The Tigers jumped to a quick lead, rode the pitching of Marcy Harper and beat Texas A&M 6-0 at Jane B. Moore Park.
That was different than the series opener when the Tigers scored five in the last inning to win 7-6. Harper made sure of easier day by holding the Aggies to three hits.
"Marcy threw a phenomenal game," said Auburn coach Clint Myers.
"Concentration and being mindful of what I'm supposed to be doing," Harper said was her key.
Auburn increased its stock for SEC Tournament play in two weeks by improving to 36-14-1 overall and 9-11 in the SEC. Texas A&M fell to 31-19 overall and 9-14 in the league. The Tigers will go for the series sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Kasey Cooper, who hit the grand slam in the seventh Friday, hit a solo homer in the first to get Auburn off and running.
"Scoring a run in the first was a huge turn," Myers said. "That's what you've got to do, whether it's a home run or two or three hits back to back. Scoring first is a nicety; is an opportunity we haven't had that much, especially of late. It gives you a little breathing room, it gives you a little cushion and gets you a little bit more relaxed."
Harper, who improved to 16-3, welcomed the early lead. So did Melero.
"We had a good warm-up, and we just brought it out to the game," she said. "Scoring first is important, especially for your pitcher. She can go in with confidence, throw strikes and know we have her back.
"They drill us about getting on early because it makes a big difference in the game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine