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SEC CHAMPIONSHIP AT BATON ROUGE LA

Auburn wins first SEC Softball Tournament

1019 days ago
SEC Staff
Photo: LSU Athletics

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Auburn won its first-ever SEC Softball Tournament title by coming from behind to top Tennessee 6-5 in extra innings. Carlee Wallace doubled in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring Emily Carosone across the plate for the winning run.

Auburn led 3-0 to start the game until Tennessee's three-run fifth inning pushed the Vols ahead. Tennessee was three outs away from a victory, but Auburn scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to force the extra frames.

"You can see the enthusiasm, the heart and the drive in these girls," said Auburn coach Clint Myers, the SEC Softball Coach of the Year. "I challenged them in the sixth, and said, 'If you want something, you're going to have to fight for it. You have to chase your fears and get after it.' These kids did a great job all the way through the lineup. I'm just really proud of them."

Auburn got on the board early when Kasey Cooper grounded out to score Tiffany Howard in the bottom of the first. The Tigers increased their lead in the bottom of the second when Jenna Abbott drew a bases-loaded walk and Emily Carosone hit a single to plate Haley Fagan.

Tennessee notched its first run in the fourth when Taylor Koenig hit a single up the middle to score Megan Geer. The Vols pulled ahead for the first time in the fifth inning. Megan Geer was hit by a pitch to bring home Tory Lewis and then Meghan Gregg scored Rainey Gaffin from third base and Annie Aldrete from second after a throwing error by Auburn.

Meghan Gregg hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to increase Tennessee's lead to two runs, but it was not enough to hold off Auburn's rally. Auburn tied it in the bottom of the seventh on a Branndi Melero groundout and a Tennessee error.

The game-winning hit by Auburn freshman Carlee Wallace was her only hit of the night. "This is incredible," Wallace said. "It means everything. We've worked so hard. Coach [Myers] is really fantastic and he got us prepared for this moment. I'm so thankful that I could be here for this."

Lexi Davis started in the circle for Auburn, but Rachel Walters picked up the win to improve her record to 17-3. Walters allowed one run in 3.2 innings of relief. Tennessee's Erin Gabriel tallied nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings of relief for starter Rainey Gaffin. Gaffin returned in the eighth and suffered the loss in the ninth, falling to 14-3.

The first-ever tournament title adds to Auburn's historic season. This is the first year in school history that Auburn has been ranked in the top ten. The Tigers won seven of their eight conference series this season, tying the program record. The No. 2 seed in the tournament was the highest-ever for the Tigers.

This was the fourth time in SEC history that the softball championship game was decided in extra innings. The Tigers improved to 49-9 and the Vols fell to 42-14 on the season.

The seeds and regional sites for the 2015 NCAA Softball Tournament will be announced Sunday, May 10, at 9:00 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

All-Tournament Team
MVP: Emily Carosone, Auburn
Kasey Cooper, Auburn
Haley Fagan, Auburn
Erin Gabriel, Tennessee
Megan Geer, Tennessee
Meghan Gregg, Tennessee
Marcy Harper, Auburn
Kirsti Merritt, Florida
Alexis Osorio, Alabama
Marisa Runyon, Alabama
Kelsey Stewart, Florida