Auburn Softball Sweeps Alabama
May 5, 2002
AUBURN.- The Auburn softball team finished of its first-ever sweep of Alabama Sunday at Jane B. Moore Field beating the 15th-ranked Crimson Tide 3-2. The victory clinched the fifth-seed for Auburn (37-23) in the upcoming SEC Tournament and evened the Tigers' conference record at 15-15. The Tide falls to 44-17 overall and 22-8 in league play.
"Anytime you can get a sweep in conference play, it is huge and to do it against Alabama makes it even sweeter," Auburn Head Coach Tina Deese said. "We played with lots of intensity and the girls wanted to jump on them quick and we did that. Kristen (Keyes) turned in another fantastic performance on the mound and our defense played well behind her."
Sophomore Kristen Keyes fired her 21st complete game of the season to improve to 21-10 for the Tigers. Keyes struck out five while allowing two runs on five hits to pick up her ninth consecutive win. Auburn beat Tide All-American Shelly Laird(24-10) for the second time in the series. Laird allowed three runs and five hits in two innings of work.
Senior Ashley Moore was the catalyst at the plate for the Tigers going 3-for-3 including the game-winning RBI double. Freshmen Shannon Anderson and Sara Dean each added RBI hits for the Tigers.
Alabama threatened in the first loading the bases with two outs, but the Tide could not push any runs across as Keyes got Lacey Prejean to fly out to right field to end the threat.
Freshman Sara Dean gave Auburn a 1-0 lead in the first after she battled through a 12-pitch at bat to finally double down the right field line. Dean's two-out double scored Moore who singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second with her eighth steal of the season.
Auburn increased its lead to 3-0 in the second doing its damage once again with two outs. Shortstop Martha Phillips led off the inning with a single and was pinch ran for by Kim Freeland. Freshman Shannon Anderson knocked Freeland in with a bloop single to left field. Anderson scored the second run of the inning when Moore drove an RBI double off the rightfield wall.
The Tide loaded the bases again in third off of Keyes and this time Prejean came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle scoring Suzanne Olcott. Pinch runner Emily Currie was thrown out at the plate on a throw by Moore in centerfield.
Prejean cut the Tide's deficit in half to 3-2 with an RBI two-out double in the fifth scoring Ashley Courtney who raced in from first. That would be the final run of the game as Keyes was able to hold the Tide off the scoreboard in the final two innings. Tide reliever Erin Wright relieved Laird in the third and held the Tigers scoreless and allowed just two hits in four innings of work.
The Tigers return to action Thursday, May 9, in Chattanooga, Tenn., with their opening round game in the SEC Tournament. Auburn will take on No. 4 seed Georgia at 6 p.m. at Jim Frost Stadium.