ATLANTA, GA - Georgia Tech eliminated the Auburn softball team from the NCAA Atlanta Regional with a 4-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Mewborn Field. The Tigers defeated Jacksonville State 15-1 in the first elimination game of the day.
Auburn's season ends with an overall record of 31-26. Georgia Tech improved to 51-10 with the win and will play Oregon in Sunday's championship game, needing to beat the Ducks twice to advance.
"I'm proud of the way we came back and fought today after a tough loss Friday night," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "Our team left it all on the field and that's all you can ask. We came out swinging the bats well against Jacksonville State in the first game, but Tech was able to get a few more. Our team played hard every pitch."
Angel Bunner (7-9) started and took the loss for Auburn. Bunner went 1.2 innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Jenee Loree relieved Bunner with two outs in the second inning and threw the next 3.1 innings allowing two runs, both earned, on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Anna Thompson recorded the final three outs of the seventh without allowing a base runner.
Jessica Coan (15-1) earned the win in relief for Georgia Tech. Coan threw the final 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit and walking two. Coan fanned seven.
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Danielle Dike's RBI double. Pinch-runner Kelly Eppinger scored after going in for Hope Rush who drew a leadoff walk.
Georgia Tech made it a 2-0 game in the second inning on a bloop single to center by Rush that scored Jen Yee. Yee singled to open the inning and moved to second on a sac bunt. A ground out to second moved Yee to third, setting up Rush's RBI single.
The Tigers pulled within a run in the fourth inning when Kyndall White cranked a leadoff home run over the wall in left. It was White's 14th home run of the season and made it a 2-1 game. After White's homer, Kelsey Cartwright singled and Elizabeth Eisterhold walked to put two on with no outs. But Coan retired the next three hitters to halt the Auburn rally.
Auburn put two on in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out single from Eisterhold and a walk by Amber Harrison. But Coan got Kelley Smiley swinging on strike three to end the scoring threat.
The Yellow Jackets added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning when Yee crunched a two-run home run to right-center.
It was Yee's 28th home run of the season and came with Christy Jones aboard to give Georgia Tech a 4-1 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Coan issued a leadoff walk to Clyde but Guzman lined into a double play, short to first, getting Clyde for the first two outs of the inning. Caitlin Stangl kept the inning going with a slap single to third, but Coan got Katie Colton to strike out swinging to end the game.
In game one, Auburn pitcher Jenee Loree held Jacksonville State to one run over six innings while the Tigers pounded-out 15 runs on 18 hits to oust the Gamecocks from the NCAA Atlanta Regional with a 15-1 victory.
Loree improved to 4-5 with the win. In 6.0 innings of work, Loree allowed one run, earned, on three hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Angel Bunner tossed the final inning without allowing a base runner.
Ashley Eliasson took the loss for JSU to fall to 21-9. Eliasson allowed eight runs, five earned, on 11 hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Auburn took advantage of a Jacksonville State error to plate three unearned runs in the top of the first inning. Katie Colton reached on a one-out single and moved to third on a double to left by Kyndall White.
With two outs, Kelsey Cartwright chopped back to Eliasson who threw wild to first, allowing Colton and White to score. Cartwright moved to second on the play and scored on a single by Amber Harrison for a 3-0 Auburn lead.
Colton gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the second inning when her sacrifice fly to right scored Krista Clyde. Clyde opened the inning with a single and moved to third on a double by Lauren Guzman.
Cartwright pushed the Auburn lead to 5-0 with a solo home run to open the fifth inning. It was Cartwright's third home run of the season and ignited an Auburn rally. Colton forced in a run with a base-loaded walk to make it a 6-0 game. White then drilled a single to right that scored Kelley Smiley (single) and Clyde (single) to give Auburn an 8-0 lead.
On the verge of ending the game on the run rule, Jacksonville State scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hillary Downs singled to open the bottom of the inning and moved to second when Amanda Crow was hit by a pitch. A fielder's choice moved Downs to third and a ground out to short to bring her home to make it an 8-1 game.