Marcy Harper's one-hitter helps Auburn advance in NCAA play
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn doesn't need many hits when Haley Fagan and Marcy Harper team up in tournament play.
Fagan hit a homer and Harper allowed one hit to help lead the Tigers to a 1-0 win over South Alabama in an NCAA Regional game SaturdayasAuburn won its school-record 51st game of the season. The Tigers advanced to Sunday's regional championship round, and Fagan and Harper helped make that happen. Coach Clint Myers welcomed them to post-game interviews.
"You have the right two at the tent today because as long as they keep doing the things they do, that makes me happy," Myers said.
Fagan's homer came in the fifth, and it was all Harper needed.
"It was superbly pitched by Marcy," Myers said. "She was tremendous all game long. She made pitches when she had to. She kept them off stride."
Myers said it was "not the first big hit Haley has come up with." Indeed, Fagan hit the homer that propelled Auburn to a 1-0 win over LSU on May 2 to back the pitching of Rachael Walters and Lexi Davis.
Auburn can win this regional in a noon game Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field against South Alabama, which played its way through the losers' bracket Saturday for a rematch with the Tigers. .Should Auburn lose the noon game, it will get a second chance in an if-necessary game that would follow. Sunday's winner advances to a Super Regional, a regional that Auburn will host if it wins Sunday.
Auburn improved to 51-9, breaking the record for most wins in a season set in 2005.
Auburn is 2-0 in this regional after beating Tennessee Tech 4-1 behind Davis and Walters on Friday, then shutting down South Alabama behind Harper on Saturday.
"I think I'm getting hot at the right time for some reason, and I'm trying to not worry about it too much," Harper said. "I just go out there, throw the ball and try to let my teammates work for me."
Harper danced out of trouble in the first, when South Alabama had runners on second and third, and again in the seventh, when the leadoff hitter reached base. But Harper wasn't fazed.
"All you can do is execute no matter if you are up or down. All I did was execute," she said. "I knew they had my back, and that every ball that was put into play was going to be an out."
Auburn spent most of the season hitting home runs at every turn. That has cooled, though Fagan has hit Auburn's last three homers.
"We were here well after midnight last night trying to figure things out," Myers said. "This is the same club. The only thing that is really different is this is the first time Auburn has won 51 games. It is the first time Auburn has ever been ranked fourth in the country, so there are a lot of new things that they never had to draw upon.
"There could be an experience problem, but they need to understand that what we are doing here is no different than the SEC Tournament. I say it every time we get together that our best softball is still ahead of us.
"One of these days, it is going to break loose, and when it does, it's going to be beautiful to watch. I hope it's tomorrow."
Auburn's Clint Myers and pitching star Marcy Harper and home-run hitting Haley Fagan talk NCAA Regional win pic.twitter.com/8xfbBsH9Em
-- Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 16, 2015
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine