Auburn, Ala. -- The Auburn softball team left seven runners stranded on base as No. 8 Alabama took advantage of a pair of home runs to win game one of the weekend series 5-1 Friday night at Jane B. Moore Field.
Auburn's record moved to 20-13 overall and 5-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama improved to 25-9 overall and 8-4 in the SEC.
Auburn and Alabama conclude the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1:06 p.m. CT Saturday. The first game will air live on CSS.
The second game will be tape delayed and will air April 4, at 3 p.m.
Angel Bunner (6-6) started and took the loss for the Tigers after giving up four runs, all earned, on five hits in 2.1 innings of work. Jenee Loree tossed 4.2 innings in relief, allowing one run, earned, on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Alabama pitcher Kelsi Dunne improved to 13-4 after holding Auburn to one run (earned) on four hits in 6.0 innings. Dunne walked three and fanned seven. Amanda Locke recorded the final three outs in
the seventh, but did not earn a save.
Alabama got consecutive singles from Jennifer Fenton and Kayla Braud to open the third inning. A sacrifice bunt by Cassie Reilly-Boccia put the runners at third and second with one out. After an intentional walk to Charlotte Morgan loaded the bases, Whitney Larsen crushed a home run over the wall in left for a grand slam and a 4-0 Alabama lead.
Loree entered the game following the grand slam and retired the next two hitters to end the inning. Loree held the Tide scoreless until a leadoff home run from Jazlyn Lunceford sailed over the wall in right to give Alabama a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning.
The Tigers put the first two hitters on in the bottom of the sixth. Caitlin Stangl singled and moved to second when Kyndall White drew a walk. Amber Harrison followed with a hard double to left-center to score Stangl and cut the deficit to 5-1.
Elizabeth Eisterhold fouled off five consecutive pitches on a
2-2 count before drawing a walk to load the bases following Harrison's double. Alabama got the first out of the inning when Lauren Guzman hit into a fielder's choice, forcing White out at home. Another fielder's choice, off the bat of Kelley Smiley, forced Harrison out at home for the second out of the inning. Alabama ended the rally when Kelsey Cartwright fouled out to third to end the inning with only one run scoring.
Locke relieved Dunne in the seventh and never allowed the Tigers to mount a rally. Krista Clyde reached on a throwing error by second baseman Braud with one out, but Locke retired Stangl and White to end the game.
Saturday's game will be carried in Auburn on WZMG AM 910 and on the internet at www.auburntigers.com.