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'Jade knows what to do' - Rhodes delivers for Auburn
March 14, 2016

By Jeff Shearer

It's called a walk-off win, but for Jade Rhodes, a "sprint-off" might be more accurate.

Rhodes' two-out infield single in the 7th scored Emily Carosone from third to give No. 3 Auburn a 5-4 win over No. 1 Florida Monday at Jane B. Moore Field.

The ball hopped once in front of the plate and once more before Florida shortstop Kelsey Stewart fielded it in the hole. By that time, Rhodes was at full speed.

"I really was just trying to get down the line as fast as I could," Rhodes said.

Florida first baseman Kayli Kvistad had trouble fielding the throw, but as fast as Rhodes was running, it might not have mattered.

"I just saw the base," Rhodes said. "I had no intention of looking at the ball. I was just hoping to get down the line."

Standing on third base, Emily Carosone was confident her teammate would deliver.

"Oh, absolutely," Carosone said. "If you rewatch it, you can see Jade making eye contact with me. We knew the same thing. She knew exactly what she had to do. Get a base hit, and that's what happened."

"It felt great," Rhodes said. "Having my teammates look at me and say that they believe in me, and they know I can do this really makes me feel a lot better about myself and just makes me relax at the plate."

Auburn overcame a 4-3 deficit with 2 runs in the 7th. Carosone scored Victoria Draper on a fielder's choice to tie it at 4.

Rhodes gave Auburn a 2-0 lead in the 2nd with a line-drive home run to center.

"The cameramen were dodging a missile that was out there," Auburn coach Clint Myers.

"My teammates were cheering me on," Rhodes said. "I knew it was a line drive. I didn't know how high it was. Anything to get on base. I just saw it and it was right down the middle, so I just swung."

Perhaps trying to duplicate her heroics, Rhodes struck out in her next two at-bats.

"When you hit a ball like that, the natural tendency is to get a little bit more hyped up," Myers said. "She was so keyed up, she wanted to do it again because she's really been seeing the ball well. She hasn't struck out much. She's had good at-bats and put the ball in play, but had just been missing. She got all of that one."

"My coach pulled me aside and just said, `Breath and calm down,'" Rhodes said. "Sometimes I get my heart racing. I know that my teammates have my back. As long as they have my back and I can calm down, those two at-bats meant nothing."

"Jade knows what to do," Auburn coach Clint Myers said. "In the last at-bat, she was composed. She knew exactly what she wanted to do. She got a good pitch. She put a good swing on it."

Rhodes said losing the first two games of the series was "a little frustrating." Those defeats made Monday's dramatic finish that much more significant.

"It was very important," Rhodes said. "Going into Mississippi State next week, taking this one from Florida. It means a lot for us. Because losing to them in the World Series, and them being at our house, taking one from them here, it felt great."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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