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Softball: UL softball loss perhaps most bizarre ever

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 22, 2015


It is about 812 miles from Auburn to Oklahoma City, site of the NCAA Women’s College World Series.

The real road from here to there is awfully longer for the UL softball team after the beyond-bizarre fashion in which the Ragin’ Cajuns fell 12-11 in eighth innings to host Auburn in Game 1 of their NCAA Super Regional on Friday at Jane B. Moore Field here.

Haley Hayden doubled to lead off the eighth and later scored on a wild pitch to put UL up 11-10 on the Tigers, who stranded a whopping 20 runners.

But Auburn tied it with Estell Morgan’s RBI double off Christina Hamilton that scored Carlee Wallace, who walked, and Whitney Jordan, a .120 pinch-hitter, followed with the game-winner.

Jordan hit a hard grounder to second, but Hayley Fagan – on third – beat Hayden’s throw to home to end it.

Up 10-5 going into the bottom of the seventh, UL allowed Auburn to tie it in the most bizarre of fashions.

The Tigers loaded the bases, then scored runs on three straight walks by a tiring Jordan Wallace, who exited after throwing 208 pitches.

Hamilton came in to relieve Wallace in a mid at-bat situation, with the count 2-0, and while waiting for play to resume she threw two pitches to third baseman Samantha Walsh – illegal warmup throws that were called balls, allowing another Auburn run to score and making it 10-9.

A rattled Hamilton walked in one more run, and the two sides were soon headed to extra innings.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, with an if-necessary game to follow.

UL took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Lexie Elkins’ two-out, solo homer run to left.

Auburn tied it in the bottom of the inning, when a collision in the outfield between centerfielder Kelli Martinez and right fielder Aleah Craighton allowed Emily Carosone to reach second.

Kasey Cooper drove in Carosone with a ground-rule double to left, tying the game.

The Tigers went on to load the bases in what would become something of a trend for the afternoon, but Wallace – who earlier in the inning appeared to hurt her lower right leg – got UL out of the jam with a strikeout.

DJ Sanders made it 2-1 UL in the second as Kelsey Vincent, who walked, scored on a play at the plate. Pinch-hitter Sara Corbello later entered in the middle of Martinez’s at-bat and delivered a two-RBI double to right, putting the Cajuns up 4-1.

Wallace walked the first three batters she faced in the bottom of the inning, then escaped that jam with two strikeouts and a groundout.

Auburn again loaded the bases in the third, and this time Wallace walked in one before getting out with a forceout at second – making it 4-2 UL.

Hayden had a two-out RBI single in the fourth, and Shellie Landry followed with a two-run double down the left-field line to put the Cajuns up 7-2.

In the bottom of the fourth, Auburn left the bases loaded – for a fourth straight time.

Vincent homered in the fifth to put UL ahead 8-2, but the Eagles pulled to within four on a two-run homer by Carosone in the bottom of the fifth.

Auburn left two stranded in the fifth, making it 14 runners left on the bases through five innings.

UL looked a bit like Auburn in the top of the sixth, loading the bases on three walks but failing to get anyone home.

The Eagles made it tighter in the bottom of the inning, getting a one-out solo homer to left from Jade Rhodes and cutting the Cajun lead to 8-5 heading to the seventh.

UL tacked on two more in the seventh on solo homers by Vincent (her second of the game) and Craighton, but even that would not be enough.