Auburn softball stared down a three-game home sweep to Alabama three times Saturday night.
Twice the Tigers faced a five-run deficit. In extra innings, they trailed by two runs and were once again pitted against Alexis Osario, who’d muffled their bats Friday night and in a 13-3 loss earlier in the day.
But a two-run single by Emily Carosone erased the final deficit before Tiffany Howard scored the winning run on an errant throw in a wild 13-12 victory.
“We talked about it yesterday that we have to have some defining moments,” head coach Clint Myers said. “Alabama is a great team. They don’t go to the College World Series as often as they do being a fly-by-night team.”
The victory salvaged what could’ve been a disastrous series and allowed the Tigers to remain on their perch at the top of the SEC standings.
“We could’ve easily rolled over and given it to them,” Carosone said. “We did not want to get swept. Three games, that wouldn’t have been acceptable for them to win against us.”
The Crimson Tide jumped on Auburn starter Rachael Walters for five runs in the first inning. The Tigers chipped two runs back in the bottom of the first before tying the game with the help of a two-run Carosone double in the fourth.
Alabama answered in the top of the sixth, gaining a 10-5 lead after Jadyn Spencer’s three-run bomb to center field.
Auburn’s next answer would come from an unlikely source.
After Morgan Estell plated one run, Jenna Abbott crushed her first home run of the season, a three-run bomb off Alabama pitcher Sydney Littlejohn.
“Every hitter has their at bat,” Carosone said. “Anyone of us can do that. Anyone at any time is ready to do that.”
Auburn would tie the game in the bottom of the 7th, but fell behind once again in the 8th after Leona Lafaela smacked a two-run home run off of Lexi Davis.
The bottom of Auburn’s lineup held on however, as Carlee Wallace doubled off Osario before Howard drew a walk to load the bases.
As she has done throughout this season, Carosone came through with the bases loaded again, singling down the left field line and tying the game.
“Emily is a clutch player,” Myers said. “She’s done it all year long and we’re hoping that she can continue to do it… Those are the things that we do and we just keep going. It’s a different hero every night.”
Kasey Cooper then hit what was seemingly a double-play ball, only for the second baseman’s throw to first to go sailing wide, allowing Howard to score the winning run.
The win came as a relief to the record crowd of 2,006, which didn’t go unnoticed by the Auburn players.
“The fans were awesome,” Carosone said. “They were giving the umpires a hard time like they should’ve. That was helpful, because I was going to get in trouble for it.”
Myers said tonight’s win could be a defining moment, though in the moment he said he just wanted his team to make up for the 13-3 loss in the first leg of the doubleheader.
“We have a responsibility to come forward and put the best effort out there for us and for [them],” Myers said. “We’re very, very pleased with the people that came to both games today.”