The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Auburn advances to SEC Championship

3130 days ago
SEC staff
Photo: Sean Taylor

BATON ROUGE, La. -- No. 2 Auburn handled third-seeded Alabama in the semifinals of the SEC Softball Tournament, 7-1, to advance to the SEC Softball championship. The Tigers controlled the game early in the first inning and never gave up the lead, only allowing one run by the Crimson Tide.

Auburn heads to its first-ever SEC Tournament championship after being ranked in the top-10 national rankings for the first time in program history, at sixth.

"To go somewhere you've never been before, you have to do something you've never done before," said Auburn pitcher Marcy Harper. "It's a great feeling. My team did a great job of stringing a bunch of hits together and base running and I did what I needed to do on the mound to put us in the position."

Auburn finished the matchup with 10 hits against Alabama's four. Tiger pitcher Marcy Harper pitched a full game and improves to 11-4 this season.

"At practice, we talk about making the pitch in the zone and we always get our bullpen hours in," said Auburn head coach Clint Myers. "When we do our situations, we tell them their strikes are balls, because it's easier to hit strikes than balls."

Auburn took the lead in the bottom of the first inning with two walk-in scores, followed by a double by Branndi Melero for the Tigers in the second. Alabama answered in the third inning with a Haylie McCleney single. Auburn answered as Haley Fagan hit a double to left field, which allowed Morgan Estell to cross home plate. In the fifth, Jenna Abbott singled as Estell scored once more.

Auburn's Carlee Wallace hit a sacrifice fly to center field in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Emily Carsosone to cross home for the seventh and final Tiger point.

Alabama's Leslie Jury pitched two innings before being replaced by Sydney Littlejohn. Jury claimed four hits, five runs, five errors and three strikeouts before Littlejohn threw six hits, two runs and a strikeout. Littlejohn falls to a 15-2 record this season.

"(Littlejohn) has a great curveball and it's not the first time we've seen it," Myers said. "When she throws it, we have to be able to capitalize on it."

And Auburn did just that of Littlejohn's pitching.

Auburn's 46-9 regular-season finish is also the second-best in school history.

"We can handle anything," Harper said. "Coach has put us through everything, so we're ready for anything that comes at us."

The Tigers improve to 48-9 this season, while the Crimson Tide falls to 42-12 and awaits a postseason bid to the Women's College World Series.

No. 2 Auburn will face the winner of No. 1 Florida vs. No. 5 Tennessee Saturday in the championship game at 7:00 p.m. CT / 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.