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Auburn starts fast, wins College World Series opener
June 2, 2016
Jade Rhodes and Auburn finds a way to beat UCLA in College World Series
Jade Rhodes and Auburn find a way to beat UCLA in College World Series

By Charles Goldberg

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.  Jade Rhodes was talking about always finding a way.

"And if that means getting hit by a pitch and getting bruises..."

Yeah, Rhodes and Auburn will do it, and had the bruises to prove it after a 10-3 victory over UCLA in their first game of the College World Series on Thursday.

Auburn was hit four times in the decisive first inning, scoring five runs on just one hit. UCLA couldn't come back, not with Auburn adding on, and not with Kaylee Carlson shutting down the Bruins save for a couple of pitches in the fourth inning.

The Tigers jumped on the winner's bracket and will play at 6 p.m. Saturday against Georgia, which beat Florida State 5-4 in Thursday's first game. Auburn-Georgia was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved after rain washed out Thursday's night session. Auburn swept Georgia in a three-game series during the regular season.

Auburn improved to 55-10. UCLA fell to 40-15-1.

The first inning went something like this...

Hit by pitch
Hit by pitch
Hit by pitch
Hit by pitch

"It was an unusual inning, but it's what we do. We take advantage of what they give us," said Auburn coach Clint Myers.

Oh, there was a hit mixed in there. And three outs. But also those five Auburn runs. Rhodes got an RBI when she was hit for the first time this season. Haley Fagan drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Whitney Jordan drove in a run when she was hit by a pitch. And two runs scored when Victoria Draper's grounder was mishandled.

"We did what we needed to do in that first inning," Myers said.

Somehow, UCLA missed Emily Carosone, who holds the Auburn world record for getting hit by a pitch. Carosone, who has been hit 84 times, was asked if she felt left out.

"Uh, no," she said.

Carosone, Fagan and Kasey Cooper each drove in two. Rhodes and Jordan each drove in one.

The hit by pitches were stealing the early headlines while Carlson was pitching well. She improved to 18-2.

"She had one little hiccup in the middle, but it's about how you finish," Myers said. "She composed herself and threw zeroes the rest of the way. We played great defense -- no errors, a minimal amount of walks and great pitching in the circle and we surely had timely hitting. We're very excited about where we are."

Carosone drove in two more in the third for an easy-as-you please 7-0 lead.

Mysha Sataraka hit a three-run homer to cut Auburn's lead to 7-3 in the fourth. But Fagan's RBI double in the bottom of the inning made it 8-3. Cooper's two-run double in the sixth put the game away.

"Really," Rhodes said, "what our motto is: Just find a way."

And that's what Auburn did.

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:

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