Auburn tops Tennesse in ranked battle
Schmalz tosses complete game, leads Tigers to victory
Knoxville, Tenn. - After an extra-inning loss in the series opener No. 21 Auburn struck back against No. 10 Tennessee by scoring in each of first three innings en route to a 9-1 victory in game two on Saturday to even the series at a win apiece.
Auburn improved to 29-6 overall and 9-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee dropped to 28-6 overall and 6-4 in the SEC. The Tigers and Lady Vols conclude the three-game series at noon CT Sunday.
"This was a good way to bounce back after last night," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Our hitters came through and kept putting pressure on Tennessee. We got off to a great start, scoring three runs in the first, and they just kept it going. Lauren Schmalz did a very good job holding Tennessee to one run."
After stranding 11 runners on base in Friday night's 2-1 loss in 10 innings, the Tigers pounded-out a season-high 13 hits Saturday against the Lady Vols. Morgan Estell had a team-best three hits in the game, while Elizabeth Eisterhold, Lauren Guzman and Katie Colton had two hits apiece.
Lauren Schmalz improved to 12-2 with a complete-game victory. Schmalz allowed one run, earned, on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Ivy Renfroe started and took the loss for Tennessee to fall to 9-3. Renfroe pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs, five earned, on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Cat Hosfield relieved Renfroe in the sixth and pitched one and one-third innings, before giving way to Renfroe in the seventh. Hosfield allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits with no walks and one strikeout.
The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The first three Auburn hitters of the game all reached. Morgan Estell was hit by a pitch to open the game and moved to second on Kyndall White's high pop-up that dropped in center for a wind-aided single. Amber Harrison then checked her swing on a 3-2 pitch to draw a walk and load the bases.
After a strikeout of Elizabeth Eisterhold, Lauren Guzman drove the first pitch she saw back up the middle for a single that plated Estell to give Auburn a 1-0 lead. Kelsey Cartwright followed with a pop-up to left for the second out of the inning.
With the bases loaded, Caitlin Stangl appeared to hit into an inning-ending ground out, but shortstop Madison Shipman threw high to first. The ball rolled into foul territory, allowing White and Harrison to score to make it a 3-0 game for the Tigers. Renfroe ended the rally by forcing Hilary Mavromat into a ground out to third.
Auburn extended its lead in the second inning. Katie Colton opened the second with a bunt single and moved to second on a Estell's single to right. After a foul out by White, Harrison laced a single to left that brought Colton home and gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
The Lady Vols cut into the Auburn lead when Jessica Spigner launched a leadoff home run to left in the bottom of the second inning. The home run was Spigner's seventh of the season and it cut the Auburn lead to 4-1.
Auburn answered the Lady Vols run in the top of the third inning. Cartwright doubled to the wall in right-center to open the inning and moved to third on a ground out to first by Stangl. Mavromat followed with a ground out to short that plated Cartwright for a 5-1 Tigers' lead.
After two scoreless innings, the Tigers put three runs up in the sixth inning. Mavromat and Colton each drew walks to put runners at second and first. Maris Media was put in to pinch-run for Mavromat. Renfroe was lifted for Hosfield following the walk to Colton.
Estell followed with a hard single that shortstop Shipman was able to glove on a dive, but had no play at first. With no outs and the bases juiced, White lined out to center but Medina was unable to tag and score from third on the play. Hosfield then rung up Harrison on a swinging strike three for the second out of the inning.
With the Lady Vols on the verge of getting out of the jam, Eisterhold smacked a hard double to the wall in left that drove in Medina and Colton to push the Auburn lead to 7-1. Guzman followed with a single through the right side of the infield to score Estell and give the Tigers an 8-1 lead.
Auburn added to its lead in the top of the seventh. With one out, Stangl reached on a fielding error by Shipman and moved to second when Mavromat drew a walk. Colton followed with a line drive off the top of the wall in center that went for a single as Mavromat had to hold up between first and second on the play. Stangl scored on the play for the final 9-1 margin.