AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn University softball team scored nine runs in the first inning against Troy Wednesday night at Jane B. Moore Field, en route to a 13-5 victory in five innings over the Trojans to move to 20-4-1 on the season. With the loss, Troy falls to 13-12-2. The win is Auburn’s eighth in six innings or less this season.
Sophomores Kelsey Bogaards, Emily Carosone and Jade Rhodes all had at least three RBI in the game, but all 10 of their RBI, combined, came off home runs. Bogaards had the top line of the game, batting in four runs off one swing of the bat, a grand slam in the fourth inning to push Auburn’s lead to 13-2 at the time in the fourth inning. The slam by Bogaards was Auburn’s third grand slam of the year and was Bogaards’ third home run this season. Branndi Melero and Kasey Cooper both hit a grand slam earlier in the season for the Tigers.
Carosone and Rhodes both had one hit each, but they were also home runs, coming in Auburn’s big first inning. Both home runs were each player’s second long balls of the season and helped the Tigers put together a big inning that proved to be too much for Troy to handle.
With the three home runs on Wednesday, Auburn now has 34 home runs on the year, which is two more than last year’s entire total.
Junior Branndi Melero also had another great game at the plate as she continued to pad her average on the year, going 3-for-3 with one RBI. Melero (.418) now joins freshman Kasey Cooper (.420) as the only Tiger hitters with a .400 batting average or higher. The three hits for Melero also ties her career-high with her last three hit game coming against Purdue earlier this year.
Along with the big offensive output, Auburn also got a great pitching performance in the circle from sophomore Marcy Harper, who stayed undefeated on the year (10-0) with the win, pitching five complete innings and giving up only three hits with nine strikeouts.
The Tigers started off the game with Harper striking out the side in the top of the first inning and then the bats went to work. Carosone and redshirt junior Morgan Estell walked in the first two at-bats of the bottom of the first. Then, freshman Kasey Cooper hit her fourth double of the year to bring home Carosone and score the first run of the game.
The second Auburn run came in from Estell, who scored on a Melero single to make it 2-0 Tigers. In the next at-bat Rhodes hit Auburn’s first home run of the night, a deep shot to right-center field, scoring Cooper and Melero to push the lead even further to 5-0 with still no outs. Rhodes finished the night 1-for-2 with three RBI
After the Rhodes home run, Troy was forced to make a pitching change, replacing Jaycee Affeldt with Sarah Mock. However, Mock struggled out of the gate, walking the next two batters in Austyn West and McKenzie Kilpatrick. Bogaards flied out for the first out of the inning, but sophomore Tiffany Howard picked up the slack in the next at-bat, singling up the middle to load the bases before a throw home by the Troy centerfielder was off-line allowing Kilpatrick to score on the error, making it 6-0 Tigers. Howard’s two hits on the night is a new season-high and just one off her career-high.
With the error, the Auburn lineup batted around which allowed Carosone to see her second at-bat of the inning. In that second go-around, the Orlando, Fla., native cleared the bases on a huge home run to right field, bringing in the final runs of the inning for a 9-0 Auburn lead. For Carosone, it was her second home run of the year and third multi-RBI game in 2014. Her three RBI also sets a new season-high.
Troy answered back slightly with two runs in the top of the second after a Becca Hartley double to make it 9-2 Tigers. Fortunately, Auburn got the big hit it needed from Bogaards in the bottom of the fourth to put the game away.
Auburn now sets its sights on the War Eagle Classic this weekend at home, its final non-conference tournament of the season. The Tigers will face Radford at 5:30 on Friday, followed by IPFW at 7:30 at Jane B. Moore Field. Savannah State and Alabama A&M will start the six-team tournament at 9 a.m. in Auburn.