Auburn Softball Team Splits With No. 7 Georgia
Box Score l Audio
April 17, 2004
AUBURN - Kristen Keyes fired a three-hit shutout to carry the 22nd-ranked Auburn softball team to a 1-0 victory in game one of a doubleheader only to see No. 7 Georgia rally for four runs in the seventh to take game two, 5-3.
The split moved the Tigers to 31-11 overall and 12-8 in the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs are now 41-10 and 17-6 in the league.
Keyes struck out five and walked just one to improve to 17-8 this year and earn her 50th career victory. Her first strikeout of the afternoon was her 212th this season, which set a new Auburn single-season record.
"It's nice to be able to get the win over Georgia because our team was hungry to play them," said Keyes. "I didn't know I had it, but it's great to get it."
The three hits she allowed were tied for the fewest by Georgia in a game this season. The Bulldogs entered the weekend as the best hitting team in the SEC and had only been shutout twice prior to the game.
"We had a great day pitching and our defense was great," said Auburn coach Tina Deese. "Lolani Alvarez made an outstanding play and Shannon Anderson made some good plays in centerfield."
The Tigers struck for the game's lone run in the third in a strange sequence of plays. Kristina McCain and Shannon Anderson led off the frame with back to back singles. Anderson stole second to put both players in scoring position.
An out later, Martha Phillips attempted a suicide squeeze bunt, but the pitch was low and she could not connect. McCain got hung up in a rundown but managed to slide under the tag to get back to third. Anderson, who had already advanced to third, was forced to retreat to second.
Just pitches later, Phillips grounded to the third baseman, who immediately threw home to initiate a second rundown with McCain. As McCain was tagged out, Phillips attempted to advance to second and induced another rundown, which allowed Anderson enough time to score.
Katie Griffith took the loss for Georgia to fall to 15-4 this year. She allowed one run on four hits while striking out three and walking one.
It was Auburn's first win over the Bulldogs in eight tries, covering a span of two years.
In game two, Auburn took a 3-1 lead into the seventh and were set to face the bottom third of the Bulldog lineup. However, Ashley Godfrey led off with a home run before Julie Milner and Megan McAllister each drew a walk. Milner was the final batter Currie faced before Beth DiPietro relieved her.
Nicole Barber's groundout advanced the runners to set up Katie Lewis' single to right field. Milner scored easily, but Sara Ghezzi's throw had easily beat McAllister to the plate. However, in the collision at the plate catcher Sara Dean lost the ball allowing the go-ahead runner to score. Kim Wendland followed with an off-the-wall double to complete the scoring.
"We had seven, eight and nine coming up," Deese said. "We knew Godfrey was a good hitter and she jumped on Currie's best pitch. Then we just didn't take care of the eight and nine batters and that really hurt us."
It was the fourth time this year the Tigers have lost in the opponents final at bat.
DiPietro got the loss and fell to 5-2 this year. She worked one inning and allowed two runs on two hits. Starter Holly Currie worked six innings and allowed three runs on five hits.
"I thought Currie pitched a very good game," Deese said. "She got better as the game went along, but I just made a decision that we were going to let her have one crack at it in the seventh before bringing Beth in."
Auburn tied the game in the second by turning a Currie walk into a run. Pinch runner Robin Martin went to second on a sacrifice and third on a Ghezzi single. Georgia starter Kasi Carroll uncorked a wild pitch to score the run.
In the third, McCain drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Phillips single through the left side. Ashley Griffin gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead with a solo home run, her fifth, to right field in the bottom of the sixth.
Batting from the leadoff spot in the order for the first time this year, McCain went 2-for-5 and reached base in four of seven plate appearances.
Carroll worked all seven innings and gave up three runs on six hits. She improved to 11-3 on the season.
Auburn and Georgia return to action at Noon on Sunday in the rubber match of the series. The Tigers will be looking for their first series victory over a top 10 team in school history.