Branndi Melero comes home after hitting a homer that helped Auburn win Sunday
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Branndi Melero knows how to celebrate a Senior Day, and the Auburn Tigers do, too.
Melero hit a 2-run homer and Auburn completed a three-game sweep of Arkansas in a 10-2 victory Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field.
"I couldn't be happier. It came at the right time," Melero said. "The fact it was on Senior Day made me smile a little bit bigger."
The game not only served as a day to celebrate the senior class of Melero, Morgan Estell and McKenzie Kilpatrick, but also kept the Tigers in the hunt for the Southeastern Conference championship heading into the final weekend of the regular season at LSU.
Coach Clint Myers said after the weekend series sweep kept Auburn on track for the post-season, first in the SEC Tournament, then the NCAAs. The Tigers improved to 44-8 overall and 16-5 in the SEC.
"I thought it was a great weekend," Myers said. "We're finishing up that second third of the season...and we're excited about playing LSU, because that's really setting the tone for the post season. We'll get a little warmup and correct the things we need to, and then we have the SECs, again, a nice warmups for the playoffs. If we're going to make a run in the plays, and I think we should, this team easily has the capabilities to get to Oklahoma City, we have to continue to grow."
Myers said he'll miss Melero, Estell and Kilpatrick, though they'll certainly play on from this Senior Day, and in Jane B. Moore Field in an NCAA Regional.
"I don't think you can say enough great things about them," he said. "First and foremost, they're great people. That's the part you're going to miss the most. You don't replace them. You just use them as role models to make everybody fit in their mold. They're great competitors, great athletes and will truly be missed."
Auburn run-ruled Arkansas in all three games as the Razorbacks fell to 15-33 overall and 1-20 in the SEC. Arkansas scored first Sunday, but Auburn led 3-2 after three, then 10-2 an inning later.
Auburn's first seven hitters combined to go 11-of-20 with two homers and eight RBIs in the four innings Auburn batted. Melero hit her 10th homer of the year and Jenna Abbott hit her second. Joining in the RBI parade were Estell, Emily Carosone, Kasey Cooper, Morgan Estell and Haley Fagan.
Rachel Walters completed a strong weekend of Auburn pitching as she improved to 16-3.
Auburn will play at LSU on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then stay in Baton Rouge to await the SEC Tournament, which is also there.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine