Auburn Softball Preview
Auburn Tigers (22-25, 10-13)
Kentucky Wildcats (10-35, 1-22)
April 18-19, 2003 • 2 p.m. (DH), 12 p.m. CDT • Lexington, Ky.
Scouting The Wildcats...The Kentucky Wildcats enter the series following a non-conference home split with Indiana University, advancing their record to 10-35 overall and snapping a 21-game losing streak. Kentucky is led at the plate by Lyndsey Angus and Nikki Jones, who are hitting .377 and .364, respectively. Angus also leads the Wildcats with seven home runs and 24 RBI. Both players rank in the Top 10 in the Southeastern Conference in batting. As a team, Kentucky is batting .217 for the season. Jessica Nance is the top base stealer, having taken 10 in 12 attempts, while she is also second on the team in RBI with 22. On the mound, Amy Kendall has started 25 games for Kentucky, posting a record of 7-20 with an ERA of 4.93 in 169 innings pitched. The team ERA stands at 4.94 with none of the four pitchers below 4.13.
Auburn took 2-of-3 last season from Kentucky and the all-time series is even at seven.
Last Season...Auburn won two of three at home against the Wildcasts. Kristen Keyes picked up both wins with complete game shutouts, allowing two runs, only one of them earned, and six walks with nine strikeouts in 12.0 innings for an 0.58 ERA. At the plate, five Tigers hit .500 or better, as Kelly Sutton and Martha Phillips both finished 5-for-8, while Deni Zeigler was 6-for-12 with a home run and six RBI. As a team, Auburn out-hit Kentucky, .434 to .174. In the third game, the Tigers scored the second most runs in an SEC game in school history with a 17.
Strikeout Queen...After matching her own school record of 12 strikeouts in a game three times this season, Kristen Keyes took it another step as she struck out 16 against Tennessee on April 12. The game went 11 innings, but Keyes had already broken the record with 14 through seven frames. She orignially set the record on April 21 last season against Tennessee. She is now also Auburn’s all-time career leader in strikeouts with 351.
Master of the Volunteers...With her two wins over Tennessee on April 12 and 13, Kristen Keyes now has a career record of 4-0 with four complete games and three shutouts against the Lady Vols. She has allowed a total of one run on ten hits and four walks with 45 strikeouts in 30.0 innings for an ERA of 0.23.
100%...With her stolen base against Tennessee on April 12, Shannon Anderson is a perfect 15-of-15 for the season, which ties her for fifth in the SEC. She now just needs one to tie Auburn’s all-time career mark of 37.
Seven Up...The Tigers’ seven runs in game one at Mississippi State on April 5 were the most the team has scored in a conference game this season, and the most overall since scoring 12 runs versus Alabama A&M on Feb. 23. Auburn has score seven or more runs four times this season and is 4-0 in those games.
Turning Around On The Bulldogs...Depite losing the second game on April 5 at Mississippi State, Auburn has now won three of the last four against MSU, dating back to last season. Prior to that, the Tigers had lost six in a row and 15 of the last 16 to the Bulldogs.
Rain?...The rain out at Mississippi State on April 6 marked the first time an Auburn conference game was cancelled due to weather since April 14, 2000, at Florida.
Two Threes...Ashley Griffin recorded six hits in two games at Mississippi State with three in each game. The last Tiger to accomplish three hits in consecutive games was Kasey Angulo. She did it April 21 and 22 of last season against Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State and was the only player to accomplish it that season.
Griffin Gets It Done...With her 6-for-8 performance in the doubleheader at Mississippi State on April 5, Ashley Griffin elevated her average from .293 to .321. It had been at its lowest point since Feb. 7 when it was .250.
Doubling Up...Although she connected for six hits against Mississippi State and three against Tennessee, Ashley Griffin did not get a double, however, she still is tied for the SEC lead in that category by one over Tennessee’s Amber Rhinehart.
Up And Down...Although Auburn’s offense struggled against Alabama, Martha Phillips had a solid series, hitting 5-for-8 with a double. Her average reached .230 at that point, but has fallen back to .210 since she has gone hitless in her last four games.
Dean Snaps Back...Sara Dean has put together a three-game hitting streak to bounce back from three consecutive games without a hit. It was the first time this season she had gone without a hit for three games.
Consecutive Shutouts...In the last two games against Alabama, Auburn failed to score. It marked the first time in series history the Tigers were held scoreless in consecutive games. In fact, in 23 previous games against the Crimson Tide they had only been shut out a total of two other times. This season, it marked the second time Auburn did not cross the plate in consecutive games, Feb. 25 and March 4 against UAB and Florida.
Making The Switch...Martha Phillips has now started five games at third base and Ashley Griffin has started seven straight at short after being reversed most of the season. Prior to the switch, they were tied for the team lead in errors at 13. Since, only Griffin has made one, and it was while attempting to receive a throw while covering third.
Angulo Struggling...After raising her batting average to a season-high .270 against South Carolina on March 29, Kasey Angulo has since gone 1-for-16, including a bases loaded strikeout to end the last game versus Alabama. Her average now stands at .228.
Then And Now...Through 20 SEC games last season, Auburn was 8-12 and has an identical record this season. Last season, the Tigers were 7-3 the rest of the way to finish 15-15.
Then And Now...Through 22 SEC games last season, Auburn was 10-13 and has an identical record this season. Last season, the Tigers were 5-2 the rest of the way to finish 15-15.
Out Ranked...Auburn earned its first win of the season over a ranked team when it defeated 13th-ranked South Carolina, 2-1, on March 29.
Most This Season...The 12 runs South Carolina scored in game one on March 29 was the most allowed in a game by Auburn pitching this season, as the Gamecocks earned a 12-1 win in five innings.
Dean To The Rescue...Although Sara Dean had only one hit in her previous four games since having a six-game hitting streak snapped heading into the 2-1 win over South Carolina on March 29, she picked up two hits, including the game winner in the bottom of the eighth.
‘Even’ing Out...The Tigers earned a split of the two-game season series with Alabama-Birmingham with a 5-2 victory on March 26 in Birmingham, as each team won on the other’s field. UAB took a 4-0 decision from Auburn on February 25 at Jane B. Moore Field.
Anatomy Of A Win Streak...Auburn’s recent six-game winning streak was based largely on solid pitching. The team ERA was 0.49, which included four shutouts and a total of four runs allowed. Kristen Keyes had three of the wins, while Janet Spivey had two and Kasey Angulo had one. Ashley Griffin and Deni Zeigler each had four RBI, while Griffin hit .450 with five doubles and a triple, leading to an .800 slugging percentage in that span.
Keyes’ Ks...Kristen Keyes struck out a total of 36 batters in two starts versus Ole Miss and one start at UAB, and in doing so, tied her own school record for strikeouts a game with 12, three consecutive times. She previously set that record on April 21, 2002 against Tennessee. Prior to facing Ole Miss, she had struck out 55 batters in a total of 12 appearances.
Holding Down The Rebels...With a three-game sweep of Ole Miss, Auburn extended its streak of consecutive shutout victories over the Rebels to six. Over the past five seasons, Auburn has won 14 of the 17 games versus Ole Miss, including a three-game sweep last season. Two of the losses in that span were also by only one run, and in 13 of the games, the Tigers held the Rebels to three runs or fewer, with eight shutouts and a record of 11-2.
‘Keyeing’ On The Rebels...Krisetn Keyes picked up two of Auburn’s three wins versus Ole Miss this weekend, finishing with two complete game shutouts. Dating back to last season’s series when she also earned two shutout wins, Keyes has now pitched 25.2 scoreless innings against the Rebels, allowing just 12 hits and six walks while striking out 41.
Unlucky Timing...Although Kristen Keyes’ performance against Ole Miss was better than a majority of the performances of past SEC Pitcher of the Week winners, it happened to come in a week when Georgia’s Michelle Green earned five wins and was named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for the nation.
Griffin Rebels...Ashley Griffin had a dominant performance at Ole Miss, collecting six hits in 10 at bats, all for extra bases, including five doubles and her first collegate triple. She extended her hitting streak to six games, and compiled a 1.300 slugging percentage for the weekend, as she took the team lead in that category for the season at .530. She is now at .496, but also leads in batting average (.310), doubles (16) and total bases (56).
Doubling Up...Ashley Griffin’s five doubles at Ole Miss vaulted her back into the lead in doubles in the SEC at 15, she added another versus South Carolina and now has 16, two ahead of Mississippi State’s Jennifer Waterman.
Magic Five...Auburn reached the five hit mark in each of the three games at Ole Miss, the game at UAB, and in two games versus USC, and when they do, it ususally spells victory. The Tigers were 5-1 in those games and are now 17-6 in games which they have five or more hits.
Another Five...Much like their record of 17-6 when the Tigers reach five hits, when they score five or more runs, they are 8-0 for the season.
Starting With Ole Miss...Auburn’s 3-6 record in conference play entering the Ole Miss series was one game better than last season’s start of 2-7 after nine games. In that season, Auburn swept the Rebels and recovered to finish 15-15 in the SEC. The Tigers were able once again to sweep this season and hope for a repeat performance.
10 Not Enough?...One of Auburn’s more frustrating losses came in game one against Arkansas on March 15 when it reached the 10-hit mark for the fourth time this season, but could only manage one run on a home run, while leaving 11 runners on base. The Tigers were 3-0 with ten hits prior to that game.
Breaking The Hold...With their two wins over the Lady Razorbacks on March 16, the Tigers snapped an eight-game losing streak to Arkansas.
Not A Sweet Song...In losing three games at Georgia on March 7 and 8, the Tigers were outscored 26-5. It was the most runs surrendered by an Auburn team in a three-game series since the SEC changed from the two-game and four-game series format for the 2001 season. Over the past two seasons, the Bulldogs have now outscored the Tigers 55-14 in seven games.
Taking The Mound...Kasey Angulo earned the first win of her Auburn career when she moved in from first base to pitch in the fourth inning of game three of the Arkansas series on March 16. Angulo had pitched one inning earlier in the season, but against Arkansas went 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of Janet Spivey.
Angling Back...After missing the first 12 games of the season, Kasey Angulo a pinch hit appearance against Missouri on Feb. 8, and then started the next seven games at designated player before finally returning to first base against Birmingham Southern. She had arguably her biggest hit of the season against Florida on March 5 when she came up with a two-out, bases loaded single to give the Tigers a 2-0 edge in the third inning against Florida, leading to Auburn’s first SEC win. Including that game, Angulo has hit safely in seven of the past 13 games, and has raised her average from .182 to .258. She hit her first home run of the season against South Carolina on March 29.
100%...Shannon Anderson is a perfect 14-14 in stolen base attempts this season. Her 14 stolen bases rank her fifth in the SEC.
Jones Making Them Count...Despite starting just 23 games this season with 75 plate appearances, Paige Jones leads Auburn in RBI with 17, three more than Sara Dean who is second on the team with 14. Jones is batting just .176 with 12 hits, but almost half have been for extra bases with one double and four home runs, including a solo shot versus Ole Miss.
Not A Bad Alternative...Not only was Anne Norton an admirable replacement for Kasey Angulo in the field at first base, but Norton also helped replace Angulo’s power. Her home run against Birmingham Southern was her fourth of the year, tying her for the team lead. Entering the 2003 season, Norton had only two career at bats with no hits.
Getting In Their Time...Freshmen Janey Spivey and Jenny Diaz have had to adjust to the collegiate game quickly and are getting their opportunities. The two are have combined for 43 appearances, with Spivey seventh in the SEC at 24 and Diaz not far behind at 19. Spivey is fifth in the conference in games started with 19, while Diaz is third in games finished with 13.
Freshman Pitching Duo...Freshmen Jenny Diaz and Janet Spivey have had a significant impact during on the 2003 season for the Tigers. Both players have performed admirably, especially in the absence of Auburn’s preseason top two starters, Kristen Keyes and Lily DuBois. Diaz has compiled a 6-2 record with a 2.94 ERA, while Spivey has posted a 7-8 record with a 2.90 ERA.
Spivey has pitched eight complete games this season with five of those being shutouts, but none may have been bigger than a game in which she received a no decision against South Carolina. Spivey shut out the 13th-ranked Gamecocks for 6.2 innings before finally surrendering the tying run in a game Auburn won, 2-1, in eight innings. Her most significant may have been a complete game shutout of Florida in her first SEC start on March 5.
Diaz’s biggest impact came in the early season. At the USF-Louisville Slugger Invitational, she picked up two wins and allowed just four earned runs in 16.2 innings. She then earned her third win against Mercer in the Tiger Invitational, allowing two earned runs on nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts in the complete game. Since that Mercer game, she has started twice and is 1-1, taking a loss against Lipscomb and earning a win over Alabama A&M. Her other two wins came in relief for Spivey against Southeastern Louisiana and Mercer.
Close Calls...Auburn has participated in nine one-run games this season and is 5-4 and is 4-1 in extra innings.
Going Deep...Against Birmingham Southern, Sara Dean, Anne Norton, Deni Zeigler and Martha Phillips all went deep to set a team record for home runs in a game with four. Phillips’ home run came in the first inning with the bases loaded for a grand slam. Only Zeigler’s home run was solo, as Dean and Norton both hit two-run shots in the 16-0 win.
Sweet 16...Auburn’s total of 16 runs against Birmingham Southern was the team’s highest total since a 17-1 victory over Kentucky on April 28 of last season.
Holiday In Macon...The Tigers traveled to Macon, Ga., from Feb. 21-23 for the Holiday Inn Invitational, hosted by Mercer, where they came away with a 4-1 record, including their third win of the season over Mercer. Below are Auburn’s results from the tournament:
Date Opponent Results
Fri., Feb. 21 vs. Wright State 8-0 W (5)
Fri., Feb. 21 vs. Lipscomb 0-1 L
Sat., Feb. 22 vs. Mercer 5-4 W (8)
Sun., Feb. 23 vs. Birmingham Southern 16-0 W (5)
Sun., Feb. 23 vs. Alabama A&M 12-1 W (5)
Rising High...As a team, Auburn hit .341 during the Holiday Inn Invitational. At the time,the performance elevated the team batting average to .233 for the season, up from the .200 average the team brought into the tournament.
Breaking Out...Entering the Holiday Inn Invitational, the Tigers had struggled at the plate. Auburn had been limited to four or fewer hits in six of the previous eight games, compiling a 1-5 record in those games with the only win coming against Mercer at the Tiger Invitational. The Tigers had also scored more than four runs in only one of their last 12 games. In the five games of the tournament in Macon, Auburn scored 41 runs, as opposed to a total of 47 runs in the previous 17 games to open the season. The Tigers also eclipsed four runs in four of the games.
Taking On Troy...Auburn traveled to face Troy State for the fourth time in school history and came away with a 4-3 loss in which Janet Spivey surrendered all four runs in the first inning before settleing down to retire 16 of the final 18 Lady Trojan batters. However, the damage had been done as the Tiger’s offense could only score three runs on three hits. Anne Norton hit her third home run of the season, which was a two-run shot in the seventh.
No Mardi Gras In Monroe...Auburn traveled to Monroe, La., for the Mardi Gras Tournament over the weekend of Feb. 14-16, and finished with a 1-2 record, defeating Southeastern Louisiana, 3-2, on Friday and then losing to Tulsa, 5-0, and Louisiana Lafayette, 9-1, on Sunday. The tournament schedule was rained out on Saturday.
Stumbling Against Samford...After a tournament championship, the Tigers managed only four hits against Samford in a 1-0 loss on Feb. 11 in Birmingham, Ala. Janet Spivey pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits and one run on a solo home run, but it was enough as the Bulldogs held on for the upset.
Tiger Invitational Champions...In dramatic fashion, freshman Ashley Griffin hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to turn a one-run deficit into a tournament championship as the Tigers defeated Missouri, 3-2, on Feb. 9. With the shot, Griffin wrapped up tournament most valuable player, concluding a weekend in which she was 9-for-15 with four doubles, the home run and three RBI. Fellow freshman Janet Spivey was named most valuable pitcher following back-to-back complete game wins in just the second and third starts of her career. Spivey pitched 14 innings and allowed only two runs in the semifinal and championship game.
Tiger Invitational Day Three Results
Championship Game: Auburn 3, Missouri 2
Consolation Game: Mercer 2, UT-Chattanooga 1
Tiger Invitational Day Two Results
Game One: Mercer 2, UT-Chattanooga 0
Game Two: Missouri 8, Auburn 3
Game Three: Missouri 4, UT-Chattanooga 0
Game Four: Auburn 3, Mercer 0
Tiger Invitational Day One Results
Game One: Missouri 4, Mercer 2 (8 innings)
Game Two: Missouri 7, UT-Chattanooga 0
Game Three: Auburn 9, Mercer 2
Game Four: Auburn 4, UT-Chattanooga 2
Tiger Invitational Awards
Most Valuable Player: Ashley Griffin, Auburn
Most Valuable Pitcher: Janet Spivey, Auburn
Tigers’ Den...In the four seasons Auburn has hosted the Tiger Invitational, the Tigers have compiled a 19-3 record.
Most Valuable Pitcher, Most Valuable Player...Janet Spivey made one of her biggest impacts this season in the Tiger Invitational, pitching a complete game shutout against Mercer to advance Auburn to the championship game and following that with two-run complete game against Missouri to win the title and most valuable pitcher honors in her first two collegiate starts. Fellow freshman Ashley Griffin helped her earn the championship win with a game-winning two-run home run in the top of the seventh, upping her average for the tournament to .600, as she took most valuable player honors.
Florida State...After losing game one, 8-0, to the ninth-ranked Florida State Seminoles, Auburn fought back in game two as Anne Norton drove in a run to tie the game at 1-1 in the seventh inning with two outs, then took the lead in the tenth, only to give up two runs in the bottom of the tenth for a 3-2 loss. Jenny Diaz suffered her first loss of the season in game one, while Kristen Keyes pitched a complete game in 10 innings, but took the loss.
USF-Louisville Slugger Tournament...Auburn finished with a record of 2-3 in the USF-Louisville Slugger Tournament. Auburn got an excellent look at national competition in the tournament, including second-ranked Arizona and Florida Atlantic, which finished just outside of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 preseason poll. The Tigers entered the tournament missing key players in 1B Kasey Angulo and P Lily DuBois due to injury. Angulo was the leading returner from last year in most offensive categories, while DuBois would be considered a number two starter before her injury. The opening game loss to Northwestern was the first in time Auburn lost a season opener in seven years.
USF-Louisville Slugger Tournament Results
Date Opponent Results
Fri., Jan. 31 vs. Northwestern Wildcats 1-6 L
Fri., Jan. 31 vs. Florida Atlantic Owls 5-3 W
Sat., Feb. 1 vs. Arizona Wildcats 0-6 L
Sat., Feb. 1 vs. South Florida Bulls 4-6 L
Sun., Feb. 2 vs. Sam Houston St. Bearkats 6-5 W (8)
Injury Report...P Janet Spivey is doubtful for the series witha sore shoulder..
Up Next...Auburn hosts the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a single non-conference game on Wednesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. CT.