April 29, 2012
Columbia, S.C. - Auburn pitchers Jenee Loree and Lauren Schmalz combined to hold South Carolina to one unearned run on four hits as the Tigers' softball team completed a series sweep with a 4-1 win Sunday afternoon.
Auburn improved to 31-19 overall and 10-15 in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks dropped 23-29 overall and 3-22 in the SEC.
"It feels good to get a sweep in conference play," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Our pitchers did a great job today. Offensively, we were able to string some hits together and push some runs across. We need to take the momentum from this weekend and take into next weekend against Mississippi State. They are playing very well and have always played us tough."
Jenee Loree started and earned the win to improve to 11-7. Loree allowed one run, unearned, on two hits with two walks and five strikeouts in four and two-thirds innings. Lauren Schmalz earned her third save of the weekend, allowing two hits in two and one-third innings with one strikeout.
Kierstyn White started and took the loss for South Carolina to fall to 6-9. White allowed four runs, all earned, on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Katelynn Howser pitched the final two and two-thirds, scattering three hits and striking out three.
After three scoreless innings, the Tigers jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Brooke Lathan started the rally with a two-out single to left. On a 1-1 count, Branndi Melero ripped a ball to center that hit the top of Lauren Lackey's glove as she jumped to catch it. The ball hit the ground to give Melero an RBI triple. With Cailtin Jordan at the plate, White delivered a wild pitch that allowed Melero to score for a 2-0 Auburn lead.
The Tigers added to their lead in the top of the fifth. Lauren Guzman led off with a double to left-center and took third on a single to center by Amber Harrison. On a 2-2 pitch, Elizabeth Eisterhold hit a sac fly to center that easily scored Guzman from third for a 3-0 lead. Harrison took third on the play and came in to score on a ground ball to short by Caitlin Schultze to make it a 4-0 game.
Schultze was safe at first on the play, the result of a poor throw from Sam Arbaugh at shortstop. White was lifted for Howser after the play. Maris Medina was put in to run for Schultze, and took second on a single to center by Lathan. Howser, however, would end the Auburn rally with a pair of strikeouts, leaving two stranded on base.
After allowing just one hit through four innings, Loree ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. Consecutive one-out errors put runners at second and first. Loree picked up the second out on a swinging third strike of Jackie Slawson. Lackey then loaded the bases on an infield single that rolled just in front of the pitcher's circle.
Loree then issued a walk on four pitches to pinch-hitter Samie Garcia to force home the first South Carolina run of the game, making it 4-1. Schmalz was then brought in for Loree and ended the South Carolina rally by forcing Kaitlin Westfall to fly out to centerfield.
Schmalz retired six straight Gamecocks before giving up a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning by pinch-hitter Kristen Struett. That was followed by another single to center by Lackey which brought the tying run the plate. With Garcia at the plate, Schmalz fell behind 2-1 before forcing a fly out to right for the final out of the game.