The Auburn softball team won its first-ever SEC Softball Tournament title Saturday night by coming from behind to top Tennessee 6-5 in extra innings. Carlee Wallace singled in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring Emily Carosone across the plate for the winning run.
Auburn led 3-0 to start the game until Tennessee's three-run fifth inning pushed the Vols ahead. Tennessee was three outs away from a victory, but Auburn scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to force the extra frames.
"You can see the enthusiasm, the heart and the drive in these girls," said Auburn head coach Clint Myers, the SEC Softball Coach of the Year. "I challenged them in the sixth, and said, 'If you want something, you're going to have to fight for it. You have to chase your fears and get after it.' These kids did a great job all the way through the lineup. I'm just really proud of them."
The game-winning hit by Wallace was her only hit of the night and Carosone had four hits in the game, en route to being named the SEC Tournament MVP.
Auburn got on the board first when Kasey Cooper grounded out to score Tiffany Howard in the bottom of the first. The Tigers increased their lead in the bottom of the second when Jenna Abbott drew a bases-loaded walk. Emily Carosone hit a single to plate Haley Fagan.
Tennessee scored its first run in the fourth inning when Taylor Koenig hit a single up the middle to score Megan Geer. Tennessee pulled ahead for the first time in the fifth inning when Megan Geer was hit by a pitch to score Tory Lewis. Meghan Gregg scored Rainey Gaffin from third base and then Annie Aldrete from second after a throwing error by Auburn.
Meghan Gregg hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning to increase Tennessee's lead to two runs, but it was not enough to hold off Auburn's rally.
This first-ever tournament title adds to Auburn's historic season. This is the first year in school history that Auburn has been ranked in the top ten. The Tigers won seven of their eight conference series this season, tying the program record. The No. 2 seed in the tournament was the highest-ever for the Tigers.
"This is incredible," Wallace said. "It means everything. We've worked so hard. Coach (Myers) is really fantastic and he got us prepared for this moment. I'm so thankful that I could be here for this."
This was the fourth time in SEC history that the softball championship game was decided in extra innings. The Tigers improved to 49-9 and the Vols fell to 42-14 on the season.
The seeds and regional sites for the 2015 NCAA Softball Tournament will be announced tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. CT / 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Fans and media are encouraged to celebrate the championship with the team on Sunday at 9 p.m. for the NCAA Selection Show watch party. The party will be held in the Auburn Wellness Kitchen on campus.