Kasey Cooper makes history, Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin return as No. 9 Auburn softball sweeps Mississippi State

Kasey Cooper makes history, Haley Fagan, Makayla Martin return as No. 9 Auburn softball sweeps Mississippi State

Kasey Cooper made history and Haley Fagan and Makayla Martin returned from six-game suspensions to help Auburn complete the sweep of Mississippi State.

Cooper claimed the SEC’s career RBI record with a two-run home run in the first and drove in another run in the second to help the Tigers build an insurmountable lead as Martin held the Bulldogs in check, striking out four over six innings, in a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon at Jane B. Moore Field.

After Victoria Draper (1 for 2 with two runs scored) got aboard with a leadoff walk, Cooper smacked a first-pitch changeup from MSU’s Holly Ward over the wall in dead center field to put the Tigers up 2-0 in the first.

“The goal was just to get a good pitch and put a good swing on it and that’s what happened,” said Cooper, who¬†surpassed Alabama’s Charlotte Morgan (264) and moved up to No. 9 in NCAA history with 266 career RBI. “It happened to be a changeup but I was in a good position to hit it. …

“It’s a little bit of a sweeter on a day like this because it is senior day, it is senior weekend and what better way to go out with a sweep and to set a career record at home. So it was awesome.”

Catcher Carlee Wallace suffered an apparent injury to her chin while sliding into second on a double but walked off under her own power before Auburn (43-8, 17-4 SEC) added a run on an RBI groundout by Fagan to make it 3-0 after the first.

Rewinding Auburn’s 6-3 win over Mississippi State

Auburn coach Clint Myers was unsure of the severity of the injury to Wallace, but said “every indication” was she would be at practice on Tuesday.

Fagan started at shortstop for the first time since her marijuana-related arrest on April 20 along with Martin and outfielder Brittany Maresette, who was also available off the bench. None of the three suspended players were available for interviews.

“For them to come out and have a great day and have a great performance, that’s all we can ask for,” Cooper said. “At the end of the day, they’re still my teammates, I love them to death. We all said welcome back.”

While Fagan went 0 for 3 at the plate, she had five assists and three putouts and helped turn two double plays for the Tigers, who set a new program record with 43 in the season.

“It’s always nice to have Haley in the lineup,” Myers said. “You heard the applause; you heard the records she’s accomplished while she’s here. I’m hoping that she has a couple of more records to put in her resume.”

After Cooper grounded out with the bases loaded to make it 4-0, Courtney Shea hit a two-run single to the pitcher, with Draper scoring from second, to make it 6-0 after two.

“(Ward) had already missed it and I knew she was going to have to turn her back towards home to be able to go pick it up,” said Draper, who went 5 for 10 with four runs scored in the series. “Coach was saying go too, (I) went ahead and tried to take it and it worked out.”

Mississippi Sate (34-18, 8-13 SEC) got on the board on an RBI double from Olivia Golden in the fourth and loaded the bases to start the sixth, driving in two runs off Martin (17-5), who allowed three runs on six hits and three walks, before Kaylee Carlson came in for her third save of the season with a perfect seventh.

“I thought Mak went out there and threw six tough innings,” Myers said. “She wasn’t pinpoint with her control but she hasn’t pitched in a while. … We figured if we can get five (innings) out of her, we got six and we weren’t going to push the envelope.”

As productive as Auburn’s hitters were in the first two innings, the Tigers failed to get a hit after as only three batters reached base from the third on via an error, hit by pitch and walk.

“You saw what we we’re capable of doing,” Myers said. “You saw what we did (on Saturday) against (Alexis) Silkwood’s their best pitcher. We’ve got to be able to come out and be that kind of ball club we were (Saturday) night.

“We did enough to win today and we got the pitching and we played great defense. … When we get the pitching and we can score six runs we got a pretty good chance of winning. It just would be nice to score every inning; we have the capability.”

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Published at Sun, 30 Apr 2017 20:05:00 +0000