From the Auburn University Athletics Department:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 20/20 Auburn Softball team scored five unanswered runs Friday night en route to defeating South Carolina, 5-3 in eight innings, winning its sixth game in a row. Freshman Kasey Cooper went 3-for-3 at the plate including a big home run to tie the game in the fifth and Auburn won its first extra-inning game of the year.
For Cooper, it's her eighth game this season with three hits or more and puts her now with 16 home runs on the year, only one away from tying the single-season Auburn home run record.
Sophomore Austyn West came through in the eight for the Tigers, bringing home the winning two runs on a bases-loaded two-out single to left field for her only hit of the night.
The Tigers were down 3-1 after two innings of play, but tied it up on Cooper's home run in the fifth. Those runs were the last of regulation as neither team could score later in the game to send it to extras.
The Tigers had already chased South Carolina starter, Julie Serratt, after the fifth and Cooper's blast and reliever Nickie Blue had pitched two scoreless innings, setting down six-straight Tiger batters going into the eighth.
Cooper came through again with her third hit of the night after singling to lead off the eighth inning. Two batters later, with one out, redshirt junior Morgan Estell walked, which was followed by a Madi Gipson hit to load the bases. The Gipson hit was her first of the night and couldn't have come at a bigger time to juice the bases for the Orange and Blue.
Sophomore Jade Rhodes struck out to keep in the bases loaded in the next at-bat, bringing up the hero in West. On a 1-0 count, West singled through the left side, scoring two to give Auburn the 5-3 lead, which was the eventual game-winner. West finished the night 1-for-4 with two RBI and has five hits in her last four games.
Pitching-wise, Auburn starter Lexi Davis threw seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on nine hits with two walks and only one strike out. Sophomore Marcy Harper came into the game to close out the game in the eighth inning and locked up her first save of the year after facing five batters and leaving two runners on.
Sophomore Emily Carosone had another good night for the Tigers in the batter's box, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one hit by pitch. The plunk is her 29th of the year, still an Auburn single-season record.
Auburn and South Carolina will return to the diamond on Saturday for game two of the three-game series with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. CST. Brit Bowen will be back on the radio call and can be heard on AuburnTigers.com and locally on WEGL 91.1. Live stats will also be available on AuburnTigers.com.
For more information on Auburn softball, visit AuburnTigers.com, follow the team on Twitter @AuburnTigersSB or follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/AuburnSB.