The most successful season in Auburn softball history came to a close Sunday as the fourth-ranked Tigers fell to top-ranked Florida, 3-2, in nine innings at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Auburn (56-11) concluded its CWS run with a 2-2 record, guaranteeing the program its first top-four finish in school history.
"I am very proud to be the coach at Auburn University. These kids were picked to finish eighth in our conference, yet they were one of four remaining teams at the College World Series," Auburn head coach Clint Myers said. "That says a lot about character, drive, competitiveness."
Auburn's season was filled with several records and historic first including the program's first-ever trip to the College World Series, first Southeastern Conference Tournament title and most wins (56) in program history.
"It was a lot of fun and we will be back. It's not the end of the world, it's really the start of something new," Myers said. "We told them that they are going to start a legacy at Auburn and they are. Our plan is now an expectation as is at the other top schools, to be at the College World Series each year playing for the national championships. I'm proud of what they accomplished and how they accomplished it. It was a total team effort."
Coming off a 10-inning, four-hour come-from-behind victory against UCLA on Saturday night, the Tigers took the SEC's regular-season champion Gators to the limit in the CWS semifinal.
Florida (58-6) scored the game-winner on Nicole DeWitt's two-out flair single to left field scoring Justine McLean. McLean reached on a one-out fielder's choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch before DeWitt's single.
McLean gave the Gators a 1-0 lead in the third inning after singling and scoring on a two-out wild pitch by Tigers hurler Lexi Davis.
Auburn took a 2-1 advantage in the fourth inning on Branndi Melero's two-run single to center field plating Victoria Draper and Jade Rhodes. Rhodes led off the inning with a single and Draper pinch ran for Mckenzie Kiplatrick who singled after Rhodes.
Florida's Taylore Fuller tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff home run, her 14th of the season.
National Softball Player of the Year Lauren Haeger improved to 31-1 on the season after allowing two runs on two hits with six strikeouts while tossing a complete game.
Davis allowed two runs on four in 7.1 innings for Auburn. Marcy Davis (12-6) was saddled with the loss.
Auburn out-hit the Gators, 11-5, and were led by Carlee Wallace, Morgan Estell and Tiffany Howard who had two hits apiece.
Defensively, the Tigers turned three double plays, including one that ended the Gators' eight inning when centerfielder Morgan Estell threw out Francesca Martinez at home plate.