April 27, 2014
Auburn's Branndi Melero comes home to find her happy teammates after her second home run Sunday (Zach Bland photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Branndi Melero said she wanted to make Senior Day a happy occasion for her departing teammates. She made doubly sure that happened.
The Auburn outfielder hit two home runs in the first two innings, Emily Carosone hit a solo homer and Marcy Harper won for the second consecutive day to help the Tigers beat Texas A&M 9-1 Sunday. Auburn used its first SEC series sweep in three years to assure itself a spot in the conference tournament that begins May 7.
Melero's Sunday was more of the same. She delivered a dramatic game-winning homer in the bottom of the seventh Friday night, and she didn't stop swinging. She went 7-for-12 with three home runs and nine RBIs against the Aggies, including driving in five Sunday. Melero now has 15 homers and an Auburn single-season record 74 RBIs.
"Branndi has done it all year long. She's been very consistent," said Auburn coach Clint Myers. "When she's locked in, she's phenomenal. It's difficult to get her out.
"Those home runs were line drives. She can do it in a lot of different directions. Branndi has been doing a really good job."
"I had," Melero said, "a good batting practice, and I just took it to the field."
The Tigers saluted seniors Hilary Mavromat, Maris Medina and Kristyn Richards after the game.
"We went out there wanting to play hard for our seniors, because it was a special day," Melero said.
Harper improved her record to 17-3. She allowed one run in 12 innings Saturday and Sunday.
"Marcy got the ball because she pitched so doggone good yesterday. She backed it up," Myers said. "She had two phenomenal days. We're getting good pitching in the circle, and that's the key thing."
Kasey Cooper, Morgan Estell and Jenna Abbott each drove in a run.
Auburn improved to 37-14-1 overall and 10-11 in the SEC. Texas A&M fell to 31-20 overall and 9-15 in the league.
"We've talked with them about playing our best softball at the end...and at the end of the season, we're getting better," Myers said.
"We talked about how to play back in August, and this is the first time all year we've been able to do it. We beat a good Texas A&M club three times. We didn't let down."
Auburn will wind up the regular season at South Carolina next weekend, then remain in Columbia to prepare for the SEC Tournament, which begins there three days later.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine