May 12, 2011
Oxford, Miss. -
Auburn's Lauren Guzman and Kelley Smiley drove in three runs apiece and pitchers Jenee Loree and Angel Bunner combined to hold the Southeastern Conference's most potent offense in check as the No. 23 Tigers defeated No. 3 Florida 6-2 in the first round of the conference tournament Thursday afternoon.
Auburn will play Tennessee at 2 p.m. CT Friday in the second round of the tournament. The game will be carried live by ESPNU. Tennessee took two of three from Auburn earlier this season in Knoxville.
Auburn improved to 39-16 overall, while Florida dropped to 47-9 with the loss. The Tigers' win snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Gators and snapped a four-game losing streak in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The 6-2 win was Auburn's first over Florida since April 15, 2007, and its first in the first round of the SEC Tournament since May 12, 2005.
"This was a great win for us, we had a good performance from all the kids in every facet of the game," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Jenee (Loree) started strong and our defense made some very big plays behind her. We brought Angel in and our defense made a big double play to get us out of the fourth inning after Florida scored a run. This was a total team win today."
Angel Bunner improved to 16-6 after earning the win in relief. Bunner pitched four innings, allowing one run, earned, on three hits with a walk and a strikeout. The win was Bunner's fourth consecutive against ranked teams after earning a win against No. 4 Georgia and two against No. 18 Kentucky.
Jenee Loree started and went three innings, allowing one run, earned, on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Stephanie Brombacher (17-2) started and took the loss, going one inning, giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Hannah Rogers pitched the final six innings, allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Auburn jumped on the scoreboard with a three-run first inning. With one out, Kelsey Cartwright was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Kasey Fagan let Kyndall White's ground ball roll between her legs at third base for an error. Lauren Guzman followed with a single through the left side to score Cartwright for a 1-0 Auburn lead. Kelley Smiley followed with a single back up the middle to score White and Guzman to push the Auburn lead to 3-0.
The Gators cut into the Auburn lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk to Brittany Schutte chased Loree from the game, Bunner came in and gave up one-out singles to Cheyenne Coye and Tiffany DeFelice. Schutte scored on DeFelice's single to left to make it a 3-1 game. With the tying runs aboard though, Bunner forced Kelsey Horton into an inning-ending double play to preserve the two-run lead for Auburn.
The Tigers answered right back in the top of the fifth. Cartwright reached on a fielding error by Rogers to open the inning and moved to third on a double to left-center by White. Guzman followed with a chopper back up the middle to score both runners and give Auburn 5-1 lead. Guzman advanced to second on the throw home and then took third when catcher DeFelice failed to catch the relay throw. Smiley picked up her third RBI of the day when she looped a single into shallow left to score Guzman and push the lead to 6-1.
Bunner retired the Gators in order in the fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, Coyle drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an illegal pitch. Coyle took third on a ground out back to Bunner for the first out of the inning. Bunner picked up the second out when Kelsey Horton grounded out to White at third.
A two-out single by Kasey Fagan scored Coyle to make it a 6-2 game, but Bunner closed the door on any potential rally when Michelle Moultrie hit into a fielder's choice forcing Fagan out at second to end the game.