OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 4 Auburn held on for a 4-2 win over No. 8 Tennessee in the first elimination game on a cool Saturday afternoon at the Women’s College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
The Tigers (55-10) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third, and thanks to junior Rachael Walters’ dominating relief performance, held on for the win to stay alive and face UCLA at 7:00 p.m. ET in another elimination game. The Lady Vols’ season comes to an end at 47-17.
Walters (left) entered with two outs, the bases loaded and her team clinging to a two-run lead in the fifth. The southpaw induced a lineout to end that threat and then struck out five of the final seven batters she faced, including the side in the seventh for her fourth save of the season. In the near perfect relief outing, Walters did not allow a run or a walk, struck out five and had just one base runner (error) in 2.1 innings.
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After both teams stranded a total of eight runners in the first two innings, Auburn finally broke through with four runs in the top of the third. Highlighted by Carlee Wallace’s (right) two-run double, the Tigers rallied for four runs, all with two outs. Haley Fagan’s swinging bunt put the first run on the board and Wallace’s gap shot to right plated Fagan and Morgan Estell with two more. Jade Rhodes capped off the inning with a RBI bloop double that was popped in an out of the diving leftfielder’s glove
The Lady Vols posted single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the Tigers’ lead in half (4-2). Tennessee got on the board courtesy of a two-out RBI double from Shaliyah Geathers. Another two-out hit by Cheyanne Tarango in the fifth pushed across the second run of the contest for the Lady Vols.
That would be all for UT as Walters shut the door on any comeback.
Lexi Davis (25-2) picked up the win in the circle for the Tigers. She went 4.2 innings, scattered nine hits, allowed one earned run, struck out one and walked one. Wallace, who had the big hit, finished 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored, while Fagan also recorded a pair of hits.
Annie Aldrete registered two of Tennessee’s nine hits. Erin Gabriel (17-8) suffered the defeat, lasting just 2.2 innings and allowing four runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout.
-- Image courtesy of AuburnTigers.com