Auburn Earns Walk-Off Win With Seventh Inning Rally
March 25, 2012
AUBURN Ala. – No. 18/21 Auburn scored two runs in the top of the seventh to earn a walk-off victory over Kentucky 2-1 after the Wildcats had already earned the series win over the Tigers with victories in the first two contests. Sophomore Griffin Joiner’s sacrifice fly in the top of the first was the lone tally for the Blue and White. UK had captured the series win over the Tigers with a 5-2 win on Saturday for the fourth series win over the Tigers in school history.
With the loss Kentucky falls to 15-16 on the year and 2-4 in Southeastern Conference action. Auburn improves to 24-9 and 3-5 in the league. The win snapped a six-game Tiger losing streak.
UK went ahead by a 1-0 score with a tally in the top half of the first. Junior Kara Dill reached base thanks to an error by Auburn’s third baseman. Her crafty base running enabled her to move to second during the play. A fly-out to right-center allowed Dill to tag up and shift to third setting the stage for Joiner to deliver a sacrifice fly for the first score of the game.
After owning a one-run edge for a full six innings, Bell allowed a one-out walk to give life to the Tigers in the home half of the seventh. Hilary Mavromat sliced a double into the right-center gap to plate the tying run. She responded by earning her eighth strikeout of the game for the second out. A hit by pitch placed two runners aboard with two outs. The Wildcats then elected to intentionally walk leadoff batter Lauren Guzman to load the bases. With the count full, Auburn scored following a game-ending hit by pitch.
Bell worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the first to escape the inning unscathed. Sophomore Lauren Cumbess notched a two-out single up the middle in the top of the second, but UK would leave her stranded following a fly-out to left field.
UK’s right-hander was flawless in the second inning as well retiring the Tigers in order including picking up an inning-ending strikeout.
Dill opened the third by getting an infield bunt single. Following a fielder’s choice and a flyout, Joiner was hit with a pitch to place two runners aboard. Sophomore Ginny Carroll got a hold of a 3-2 offering and as it left the bat seemed to be enough to dip over the centerfield wall, but it fell about two feet shy into the center fielder’s glove to prevent UK from adding to its advantage.
Auburn notched a two-out walk in the third, but UK quickly dispelled of the threat when Joiner and Dill hooked up to catch the base runner stealing.
Sophomores Krystal Smith and Emily Jolly both registered singles in the top half of the fourth and were able to move into scoring position with aggressive base running. Dill sent a chopper to second with two outs and appeared to beat out the throw to first for the final out, but the call went Auburn’s way ending the inning without UK adding to its lead.
Bell’s no-hit bid was broken up with a two-out double in the bottom of the fourth, but she wasted little time in responding with an inning-ending strikeout to end the threat and preserve UK’s 1-0 lead.
Joiner reached base for the second time in the game when she was hit by a pitch with two outs. She’s shift to second on a wild pitch, but a fly-out to right ended the inning without UK adding any insurance runs.
The Tigers got their leadoff batter aboard in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a throwing error by the Wildcats. Auburn would advance the runner a base by way of a sac bunt, but Bell and the defense retired the next two batters without allowing Auburn to move any further than second.
Smith singled through the left side with one out in the sixth and would move to second on a grounder to third. The inning would come to a close with her still aboard with the final out coming in the form of another groundout.
Auburn produced its biggest threat of the game when Guzman opened the sixth with a triple off the center field fence. Bell picked up a difference-making strikeout in the next at-bat. She then induced a lineout into her glove and swiftly turned and tossed it to senior Brittany Cervantes at third to complete the terrific inning-ending double play.
Cervantes logged a one-out walk and then moved to second on a poor throw by the catcher to attempt to pick her off at first. UK would suffer consecutive fly-outs to end the inning clinging to a 1-0 lead.
Kentucky resumes action with a home contest against in-state rival Louisville on Wednesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. ET at the UK Softball Complex.
For continuing coverage of the 2012 UK softball season log on to UKathletics.com.