Nashville, Tenn. - Marcy Harper set a career high with 10 strikeouts to lead the Auburn softball team to a 6-1 win over Tennessee State Tuesday afternoon.
Auburn improved to 19-7 overall and will next take on Middle Tennessee on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Tennessee State dropped to 8-15 with the loss.
"Marcy did a really good job in the circle for us today," Auburn head coach Tina Deese said. "She never really let them get a good swing at anything and she didn't allow any walks. This was a good outing for her today, but it's one we have to build on."
Harper improved to 9-2 with the complete-game victory. Harper allowed one run, earned, on four hits, no walks and 10 strikeouts on 101 pitches.
Shea Morris (6-8) took the loss in a complete-game effort. Morris allowed six runs, one earned, on five hits with five walks and nine strikeouts.
The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning. Branndi Melero led off and reached when shortstop Jayna Hanawahine dropped her short pop up. Melero was able to take second on the play as the ball rolled into foul territory. On a 3-2 pitch, Emily Carosone laced a single up the middle to plate Melero and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Tennessee State threatened in the bottom half of the fourth when Audrey Sensing tripled to right with two outs. But Harper was able to end the scoring threat when she fanned Ashley Haynes on a called third strike.Auburn increased its lead in the top of the fifth. The Tigers put the leadoff batter on when Kelsey Bogaards slapped a single through the right side. Bogaards stole second to move into scoring position and was able to take third on a passed ball. With one out, Tiffany Howard hit a sacrifice fly to left that easily scored Bogaards to push the Auburn lead to 2-0.
After putting two on in the bottom of the first, Tennessee State threatened only once as Harper found a groove. After the first inning, Harper retired eight straight before a two-out triple in the fourth inning broke the string. Harper retired the following batter to start a string of seven straight batters retired to keep TSU scoreless after six innings.
The Tigers added some insurance in the top of the seventh inning. Estell walked to open the inning and stole second. Howard followed with a walk. Melero then laced a double to left that scored Estell to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Emily Carosone followed with a line drive that Hanawahine dropped at short for an error. The ball rolled into shallow center on the play, allowing Howard and Melero to score for a 5-0 Auburn lead.
Caitlin Schultze made it a 6-0 game with a single through the left side that plated Carosone for Auburn's fourth and final run of the inning.Tennessee State broke up the shutout bid with consecutive hits to open the bottom of the seventh. Tedra Alford led off with a single to center and was followed by Sensing who doubled down the left field line, scoring Alford to make it a 6-1 game. That would be all TSU would score, however, as Harper retired the next three batters to end the game, including the final batter on her 10th strikeout.