AUBURN, Ala. – A three-run home run from Auburn’s Jade Rhodes broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth and lifted the Tigers to a 5-2 victory Saturday at Jane B. Moore Field. No. 21/21 Auburn trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth and had not tallied a hit until scoring five times in the frame to earn the victory.
Mississippi State received a career-high three hits, including a two-run home run, from freshman Caroline Seitz to carry the offense. Senior Sam Lenahan also chipped in with a three-for-four performance at the plate, matching her career high in hits. Mississippi State falls to 22-10 overall and 1-7 in the Southeastern Conference while Auburn improves to 28-4-1 with a 4-1 mark in the league.
Senior Alison Owen (11-7) went the distance and allowed five runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk. She fanned seven. Marcy Harper (13-0) picked up the win for Auburn, throwing the first six innings and allowing two runs on six hits and two free passes. She also struck out seven. Lexi Davis entered for the seventh and earned her third save of the campaign, allowing one single.
MSU threatened immediately in the top of the first inning by loading the bases with one out, but could not convert. Lenahan led off with a single and, after a fly out, Seitz bounced a ball into left field for a single to move Lenahan to second. A walk to senior Logan Foulks loaded the bases, but two strikeouts ended the threat.
Auburn had its first base runner in the bottom of the second with a two-out walk to Jenna Abbott. A strikeout left her stranded.
The Bulldogs had another opportunity in the top of the third inning. After a pop out started the frame, junior Julia Echols walked and Seitz sent another ball into left, this one for a double that moved Echols to third. Foulks was hit by the first pitch of her at-bat to fill the bases with one out. A lineout and strikeout again stranded all three.
Both teams were retired in order until the top of the fifth, when MSU took a 2-0 lead. Lenahan led off with a single to left and was replaced at first by freshman pinch runner Amanda Ivy. An Echols fielder’s choice forced Ivy out at second, but Seitz hit a two-run home run to put the Bulldogs in the lead. After a strikeout, freshman Mackenzie Toler singled through the left side to extend the inning, but a groundout ended the threat.
The Tigers broke through with their first hit and subsequently scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to go ahead 5-2. Auburn recorded its first hit with one out as Tiffany Howard chopped a ball over the head of Seitz at third base. An Emily Carosone hit by pitch and single off the shin of Owen by Morgan Estell filled the bases with one out. Kasey Cooper grounded a ball toward senior second baseman Heidi Shape, who threw wide to second, allowing the bases to remain loaded and Howard to score. A sacrifice fly to right from Branndi Melero evened the score at 2-2. Rhodes then cleared the bases with a three-run home run to left center. A fly out closed the inning.
Davis entered and gave up a leadoff single to Lenahan before a foul out, fielder’s choice and caught stealing sealed the victory.
The teams complete the three-game series Sunday with a 1 p.m. CT contest.
- Senior Logan Foulks has hit .600 (three-for-five) this week with two runs scored and a 1.400 slugging percentage and .778 on-base percentage.
- Freshman Caroline Seitz has hit .500 (five-for-10) with a 1.000 slugging percentage in three games this week.
- Seitz hit her 13th double of the campaign in the top of the third inning. The total is good for second in the Southeastern Conference this season and the fifth most by a freshman in program history.
- Seitz recorded her seventh game of the campaign with multiple extra-base hits, adding her first career SEC home run in the fifth inning.
- Seitz lifted her SEC batting average to a team second-best .333 (seven-for-21) with a squad-high .619 slugging percentage.
- Senior Sam Lenahan singled in the first, fifth and seventh innings and has hits in consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 21-22.
- Lenahan tallied her first multiple-hit game since Feb. 19 against Central Arkansas.
- Lenahan is hitting .500 (four-for-eight) this week with a .600 on-base percentage.
- Freshman Mackenzie Toler is hitting a team third-best .313 (five-for-16) in the last six games.
- Junior Julia Echols has drawn three walks this week. She recorded seven during the entire 2013 campaign.