AUBURN, Ala. -- The No. 3 Auburn Tigers defeated No. 1 Florida in the final game of the series Monday night at Jane B. Moore Field. After close losses the previous two games, Auburn beat the Gators 5-4 with a walkoff infield single from Jade Rhodes. The Tigers improve to 23-3 on the season and 1-2 in SEC play as they hand the Gators (25-1, 2-1) their first loss of the season.
"We matured a lot this series as a team. That is the key thing. We grew up a little bit. This is a quality team that never quits, one through nine, the bench and everything else. It is great character, and I would go to war with any of them. We have to build the little things. This is the SEC and we understand that. We have to get ready for the post season."
After a 1-2-3 first inning, Jade Rhodes stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run homer over center field to get the Tigers on the board in the second.
The Gators rallied back in the fifth inning after a three-run homer from centerfielder Kirsti Merritt. But Auburn continued to put up a fight as Emily Carosone hit her sixth home run of the season to put Auburn within one.
In the circle, sophomore Kaylee Carlson pitched six innings for the Tigers and used two double plays from her defense to keep Auburn in the game. Makayla Martin came in in the seventh inning allowing no hits to give the Tigers one more at bat and the chance to win the game.
"Kaylee Carlson was magnificent," said Myers. "She changed the quadrants and changed the speeds on both sides of the plate. She really did a phenomenal job. You are going to see her in the circle. Corey (Myers) has done a great job with our pitching staff."
The Tigers got three quick outs in the top of the seventh as they stepped up to the plate one last time. Pitch hitter Emily Spain got on base with a walk as Draper reentered the game as a pitch runner. Following a passed ball, Tiffany Howard advanced Draper to third on a ground ball. Carosone reached on a fielder's choice bringing the tying run home. A base hit from Cooper put two runners on base. Carlee Wallace grounded out but allowed the runners to advance putting the winning run on third. A single from Rhodes allowed Carosone to score for the Tigers giving them the 5-4 win and their first SEC win of the season.
"It was very important to get that win," said Rhodes. "Going into SEC play and taking this one from Florida means a lot to us. Losing to them in the World Series and them being at our house and taking one from them here felt great."
Florida entered this weekend's series only allowing 13 runs this season, but the Tigers were able to put up 12 on their home field.
Auburn hits the road for the first time in 15 games with a midweek game at Samford before travelling to Mississippi State for a Friday-Sunday weekend series against the Bulldogs.