May 18, 2014
Auburn's Jenna Abbott (44) comes home to a hero's welcome after her dramatic homer beat Minnesota
By Charles Goldberg
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Auburn and pinch-hitter Jenna Abbott didn't want the softball season to end.
Abbott slammed a homer to straight-away center field with two outs in the eighth to lead the Tigers past Minnesota 4-3 to force a winner-take-all softball championship game in the NCAA Minneapolis Regional.
Minnesota came back and won the title game 8-6 with a late home run, but only after Auburn had won its third straight elimination game in two days to reach Sunday's final, decisive game.
Auburn jumped ahead early in Sunday's first game, scoring two in the third on back-to-back RBI doubles by Kasey Cooper and Branndi Melero. Pinch-hitter Anna Gibbs added an RBI single in the fifth for a 3-0 lead. Minnesota tied it on a Kaitlyn Richardson double and a two-run homer by Sara Groenewegn. But Auburn had the answer in extra innings. After five straight Tigers had struck out, Abbott won it with her fifth homer of the year.
All of that backed the pitching of Lexi Davis, who made her fourth straight start in four games.
Auburn left the first game with a 42-18-1 record. Minnesota left 43-10.
The Tigers lost the first game of the regional, but came back to beat Green Bay, North Dakota State and Minnesota to force the regional title game.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine