LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 3 Tigers cruised to a 9-0 (5) shutout win over No. 14/12 Kentucky on Friday evening at John Cropp Stadium. Auburn improved to 31-4 on the year and 7-3 in SEC action while the Wildcats dropped to 31-6 and 8-2.
Auburn jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning care of Jade Rhodes' SEC-leading 12th home run of the year. The long ball was her fourth in the last five games and seventh in the last nine to drive in Tiffany Howard and Carlee Wallace.
"We keep telling Jade 'Don't wake up'," head coach Clint Myers joked after the game. "The way she is seeing the ball and connecting right now, it is very impressive. But the key to the game was timely hitting from up-and-down our lineup. We got a lot of great at bats on there and Kaylee (Carlson) was phenomenal."
The three-run first inning was more than enough cushion for ace Kaylee Carlson (9-0) but the Tigers kept the pressure up and scored five runs in the third and another run in the fourth. Carlson was very effective in the circle only needing 61 pitches and allowing just a pair of hits.
"Kaylee was great tonight, she was in total control of her pitches and the zone," Myers said. "When she's pitching like that, she doesn't need to throw a lot of pitches. I was very proud of her efforts out there today."
A double by Howard started the big third inning and a bases-loaded fielder's choice by Carlee Wallace scored Howard. An error by the Kentucky second baseman led to a pair of runs crossing the plate before Jenna Abbot's two-RBI single up the middle made it 8-0.
The Tigers added another insurance run the next frame with Rhodes delivering a single to score Wallace who reached with a double. The RBI single gave Rhodes' four RBI in the game bringing her total up to 47 on the year.
Auburn now has 16 run-rule victories and shutouts of the season. This was the Tigers' 10th shutout, run-rule win.
Auburn and Kentucky play tomorrow on Saturday at 2 p.m.