Auburn Softball Tops No. 18 North Carolina



Miami, Fla. - Seniors Myesha Finney and Tatiana Fernandez drove in two runs apiece and the Tigers held off a seventh-inning rally as the Auburn softball team defeated No. 18 North Carolina 6-5 to remain unbeaten in the FIU Tournament Saturday afternoon. Auburn defeated FIU 2-1 in nine innings in the first game of the day.

The Tigers (4-0) will close the tournament with an 8:30 a.m. game Sunday against Louisville.

Freshman pitcher Jenee Loree (3-0) earned the win against the Tar Heels after holding UNC just five hits through six innings. Loree fanned six, walked one and hit one batter in her second collegiate start.

Anna Thompson earned her first save of the season, recording the final two outs of the game. Thompson entered the game after UNC scored four runs off Holly Ragsdale, who pitched one-third of an inning. Thompson allowed one run, earned, on two hits and one strikeout.

UNC dropped to 1-2 with the loss. Pitcher Constance Orr (0-1) took the loss after giving up one run, earned, on one hit in 2.0 innings. Lisa Norris started and gave up five earned runs in 4.0 innings of work.

Auburn jumped on top in the bottom of the first inning. Kayla Tatum walked and moved to third on a single to center by Fernandez, who moved to second on the throw to third. Finney followed with a ground ball to second, that Brittany Robinson fielded and threw home but failed to get Tatum from third.

Elizabeth Eisterhold followed with a single to center that plated Fernandez and pushed the Tigers' lead to 2-0.



The Tigers extended their lead in the bottom of the second. Megan Mitchell walked and moved to third on a two-out single to right by Kyndall White, who moved to second on the throw. Fernandez then laced a single off the pitcher's glove to score Mitchell and give Auburn a 3-0 lead. Finney made it a 4-0 game with a single to left that scored White from third.

Fernandez drove in her second run of the night with an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. It gave the Tigers a 5-0 lead and came with Mitchell aboard, after she drew a leadoff walk.

Taryn Gray pushed the Auburn lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth. Eisterhold doubled to begin the inning and was lifted for pinch-runner Cassie Trosclair. Trosclair moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Gray's ground out to short.

In game one, Kayla Tatum scored on a throwing error in the top of the ninth to give the Tigers a 2-1 victory over host FIU. Freshman Jenee Loree (2-0) earned the win after throwing the final 3.0 innings in relief. Loree allowed one walk and fanned six. Auburn improved to 3-0 with the win.

Jennifer Gniadek (0-1) took the loss after giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits in 5.0 innings of relief work. FIU fell to 1-3 with the loss.

The Tigers missed a scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth. With one out, Myesha Finney singled and moved to third on a single to center by Elizabeth Eisterhold, who advanced to second on the relay throw. Barrett, however, was able to retire Lauren Guzman and Amber Harrison to strand the runners at second and third and keep the game scoreless.

Auburn starter Anna Thompson was equally effective for the Tigers. The Huntsville, Ala., native held the Golden Panthers two a pair of hits, only one through the infield, through the first four innings. Thompson retired seven straight to open the game and fanned six through four innings.

In the top of the sixth, Tatiana Fernandez singled to open the inning and was lifted for pinch-runner Katie Colton. A sac bunt by Finney moved Colton to second. Eisterhold fanned for the second out and Guzman then reached on an infield single to short, keeping Colton at second. Harrison then stroked a single to center that plated Colton, giving Auburn a 1-0 lead.

The Golden Panthers, however, rallied in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game. Desiree Fink singled to open the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt. A wild pitch by Thompson moved Fink to third and Jessica Landau's two-out single to right brought Fink home with the tying run.

In the top of the ninth with the tie-breaker rule in play, Lindsey Harrelson begin the inning on second and moved to third on a sac bunt by Megan Mitchell. Harrelson, however, was out at home during a rundown on a pickoff throw. Tatum followed by singling through the left side. White then singled hard to center, Tatum rounded for third and slid, but the throw was wild from centerfielder Kim Rodriguez and Tatum was able to score for a 2-1 Auburn lead.

Loree retired the side in the bottom half of the inning to preserve the win for the Tigers.