No. 18 Tigers Split With Arkansas
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM Tatiana Fernandez
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM
Tatiana Fernandez
AUBURNTIGERSDOTCOM

April 22, 2006

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Freshman Tatiana Fernandez was 4 for 4 with two doubles and three runs batted in as the 18th-ranked Auburn softball team took the first game of a doubleheader, 5-4, Saturday over Arkansas at Lady'Back Yard. Arkansas, however, took game two, 2-0.

Kristina McCain's two-out double to left in the sixth inning scored two and gave Auburn a 5-4 victory in game one of the doubleheader. Fernandez had two doubles, a two-run home run and a single in the game, continuing her hot week of play. She was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday.

The catcher doubled home the Tigers' first run of the game in the first. She went on to double in the third but was stranded at third base.

Fernandez didn't let up as the game continued, stroking her sixth home run of the season in the fifth off Arkansas starter Blaire Perry. The round-tripper drove in McCain and pulled the Tigers (30-13 overall, 11-9 SEC) to within one, 4-3.

"Tat is swinging the bat very well right now," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "She's getting very confident right now and seeing the ball as well as she has all season. This is about her maturing into a collegiate hitter."

McCain doubled home Myesha Finney and Ashley Arcuri in a sharply hit ball over the left fielder's head in the sixth. The go-ahead runs assured Auburn of its 30th win of the season, a milestone now reached by the Tigers in seven of the team's 10 seasons.

The two doubles marked the third time this season Fernandez has hit two in the same game. Her three RBI was one shy of tying a season high, set March 1 against Southern Miss. in Pensacola, Fla.

Holly Currie picked up the win, improving to 15-7 on the year. She walked one and struck out seven. She limited Arkansas to six hits and four runs in a complete-game effort, the 14th of the season for the Pisgah, Ala., native.

Arkansas reliever Kayce Odle took the loss and dropped to 4-6. She allowed McCain's two-run double in the sixth and allowed two hits over two innings.

In game two, Arkansas (24-27, 8-14) scored two runs on an Auburn error in the first en route to a 2-0 victory. Junior Beth DiPietro worked just two innings, allowing both runs -- each was unearned -- and dropped to 14-5 this season.

The Lady'Backs loaded the bases in the first, but watched as DiPietro got Shana Easley to foul out to Starr Dorsey at first. However, Perry, playing left field in game two, hit a ball the Auburn infield could not handle, scoring Mindy O'Malley from third and Kayla Johnson from second.

Sophomore Brittany Day relieved DiPietro in the third inning and scattered three runs over four innings. She struck out four and walked one.

Auburn managed five hits in the loss, led by Ashley Griffin and Sara Ghezzi, who both finished the game 2 for 3.

The Tigers and Lady'Backs finish the three-game series Sunday with a 1 p.m. CT., contest in Fayetteville. The game, to be played at Lady'Back Yard, can be heard live on the Internet at www.auburntigers.com and on the radio at WZMG-AM (910).

TIGER NOTES: The Tigers wore white uniforms and are 13-6 in them this season ... Senior Ashley Griffin singled in the first inning of the first game for her 200th career hit ... She is now just the fourth Tiger in team history with 200 or more hits, joining Ashley Moore (261, 1999-2002), Mary Petrie (228, 1999-2001) and Sara Dean (226, 2002-05) ... Kristina McCain walked once in the doubleheader, giving her 29 on the season.