AU Softball Ends Season with Shutout Sweep … Ready to Face Tide in SEC Tournament

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

AU Softball Ends Season with Shutout Sweep … Ready to Face Tide in SEC Tournament

It’s just what the Tigers needed after getting swept in the last SEC series of the season. With the SEC tournament kicking off Wednesday against the Crimson Tide, an offensive breakout is exactly the medicine Auburn needed to go after another SEC crown. 

The Texas A&M pitching and defense stifled the Tigers, who scored just two runs in three games in College Station. But the Tigers took down UT-Chattanooga in Chattanooga outscoring the Mocs 16-0 in front of a sold out crowd that had local Auburn fans in the area scrambling for tickets.

Victoria Draper was moved back to the leadoff spot and responded with two hits in the first game. Alyssa Rivera and Kendall Veach added two hits each. There were also four RBI’s scattered among the lineup; more importantly, there were no strikeouts for the Auburn hitters in what may be the sign of great things to come. Auburn’s watchful eyes led to eight walks.

Kaylee Carlson got the start and went four scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and recording a single strikeout as she ended her last season with a 20-6 record. Ashlee Swindle and Kara Bilodeau made appearances in the circle for Auburn. 

The Tigers took things a step further in game two as Draper led the way in the box for Auburn with four hits on the afternoon. She scored two runs and added two RBIs. The senior is the sparkplug for an offense that has languished over the previous few year’s production. Alyssa Rivera added two hits and an RBI to bookend the top of the Auburn lineup, which did virtually all of the damage taking down the Mocs 9-0.

The Auburn defense was flawless for the second game in a row and their bats came alive to the tune of 13 hits. Makayla Martin finished her season with a 15-5 record as she went five innings, leaving Windle and Bilodeau to finish things off. Along the way, Martin allowed just two hits and added two Ks. 

Auburn finished the regular season with a 40-14 record, their most losses since the 2013-2014 season. However, it’s postseason time and while they won’t have a chance to match the 19 losses that season, they can still pad the win column with the SEC tournament starting this Wednesday against Alabama. The Tide is a team that Auburn has been able to control in recent years.

In their last meeting almost two months ago, the Tigers defeated the Tide twice to win their series. While Bama took game one 2-0, Auburn bounced back and won games two and three with a score of 3-1 and 2-1, respectively. It should be noted that the series win came after ace Alexis Osorio was taken out of the game with concussion like symptoms after being struck in the face by a hit. She’s been back and healthy, though she hasn’t been nearly as good as she’s been in previous years. Can they win and advance in Columbia, Missouri? 

Alabama presents a unique struggle in the SEC as their lineup is built so differently than most SEC clubs. Alabama has a lot of power hitters who can only hurt you hitting long balls and moving the few faster players on multi-base hits. If Auburn’s pitchers can keep the ball on the ground, they will win. Of course, Auburn has to get the bats going themselves.

Auburn has great success when allowing speedy slappers to hit with runners on base, frequently with quality at-bats that end in walks. For example, Victoria Draper is three times the threat at the plate with a runner on the base path because of the pressure it puts on the infield when she bounces the ball. So far this season, Auburn has struggled when the mid-pack batters don’t force long at-bats. They did just that this past weekend.

The game is set for 6:30 Central and the match between the rivals will surely be shown on TV, but the channel hasn’t been announced. The winner of that game will take on the top seeded Florida Gators on Thursday at 6:30 Central. 

The post AU Softball Ends Season with Shutout Sweep … Ready to Face Tide in SEC Tournament appeared first on Track 'Em Tigers, Auburn's oldest and most read independent blog.

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