Auburn players rush to hug Morgan Estell after she walked with the bases-loaded to push the Tigers to a World Series win
By Charles Goldberg
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Catcher Carlee Wallace didn't really want to put her coach through it, but nobody was complaining about yet another Auburn comeback victory, this one on the biggest stage of all Saturday night.
Auburn beat UCLA 11-10 in 10 innings at the softball College World Series in a game that took more than four hours to play and featured a lot of give and take down the stretch.
"We tend to do better when our backs are against the wall," Wallace said. "It would be better for Coach and his health if we didn't do that, but that's just the way this team is wired. When there's a call, we answer."
Auburn did, rallying from an early five-run deficit, taking a lead, losing a lead and winning it in the 10th when Morgan Estell walked with the bases loaded.
Auburn advanced to a noon game against Florida on Sunday. The Tigers need to beat the Gators twice Sunday to advance in the tournament. Florida won the regular-season SEC title. Auburn won the SEC Tournament title. The Tigers are one the tournament's final four teams, joining Florida, LSU and Michigan.
The Tigers stayed alive Saturday on the losers' bracket, winning twice, beating Tennessee 4-2 in the day's first game, and outlasting UCLA in the nightcap.
Wallace had a big day, going 4-for-6 with six RBIs, including a bases-loaded double and four RBIs against UCLA. Brandi Melero hit a 3-run homer and drove in four against UCLA. The Tigers also got RBIs from Estell and Kasey Cooper.
"I'm extremely proud of the fight. They never quit," Myers said. "These kids were not going to be denied. They came here for a reason. They came here to win.
"You saw the determination."
"For some reason," Melero said, "we like to play these types of games."
"We like the challenge," Estell said.
Auburn trailed UCLA 5-0 in the top of the third, but Auburn immediately scored six in the bottom of the inning. UCLA tied it at 6-6 in the fourth, then Auburn took the lead for on a Melero 3-run home run in the bottom of that inning. That held up until two outs in the bottom of the seventh when Maddy Jelenicki hit a 2-run homer for a 10-9 lead.
Auburn just kept coming back.
Auburn continued to build on its school-best record, now 56-10. UCLA's season ended at 51-12.
The crazy third inning -- in which the two teams combined for 11 runs and six pitchers appeared -- saw Auburn go up on a Cooper RBI walk, a Melero RBI single, a wild pitch and a Wallace bases-clearing double.
Haley Fagan almost won it for Auburn in the bottom of the eighth when she flew out on a drive that was caught at the wall with the bases loaded. UCLA left the go-ahead run on third in the top of the ninth. Lexi Davis, was the starting pitcher in the game in daylight before Rachael Walters and Marcy Harper pitched in relief, came back into the night to pitch again and pick up the win to imrpove to 26-2.
"It's been an awesome ride so far," Wallace said.
Now? "Go out there and let's just play some ball."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine
Auburn beats UCLA 11-10 in extras... "For some reason, we like to play these types of games," says Branndi Melero pic.twitter.com/p0HFAKvoQv
-- Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 31, 2015