Softball, Tennis, and Gymnastics..Oh My!

The Lady Tigers got beat on a late 2 run HR

STILLWATER, Okla. — Julie Ward’s two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning lifted the 19th-ranked Oklahoma State softball team to a 3-2 victory over No. 24 Auburn Sunday afternoon at Cowgirl Stadium.

The Tigers moved to 17-2 with the loss while Oklahoma State improved to 15-5. Auburn returns to action Tuesday, March 8, with a doubleheader at Jane B. Moore Field. Auburn plays Connecticut at 2 p.m. and Florida State at 5 p.m.

Angel Bunner (5-1) started and took the loss for Auburn. Bunner allowed three runs, all earned, on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts in six innings of work.

Kat Espinoza (9-2) earned the complete-game victory for OSU. Espinoza allowed two runs, one earned, on one hit with two walks and five strikeouts.

Auburn took advantage of a pair of passed balls on catcher Ashley Boyd to score the first run of the game. Morgan Estell drew a leadoff walk and used two passed balls to move to third. With one out, Lauren Guzman perfectly executed a squeeze bunt to score Estell and give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Oklahoma State tied the game in the bottom of the second. Sammy Diffendaffer reached on a fielder’s choice, attempting to advance a runner with a sac bunt, and came around to score on a double to the wall in center by Boyd to make it 1-1.

Kyndall White broke the tie with a two-out home run to left-center in the top of the third inning. It was White’s third home run of the season and the 25th of her career and it gave Auburn a 2-1 edge.

Oklahoma State rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning to take the lead. Julie Ward cranked a two-out, two-run home run to center to give the Cowgirls a 3-2 lead. Ward’s home run came with Chelsea Garcia (single) aboard. It was Ward’s fifth home run of the season.

Vols take 5-2 win
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 21 Auburn men’s tennis team concluded the weekend at Tennessee, falling to the No. 2 Volunteers, 5-2, Sunday at the Goodfriend Tennis Center in Knoxville.

The loss drops the Tigers to 7-5 overall and 0-2 in the SEC as Tennessee improves to 12-1 and 2-0 in the conference.

“We aren’t looking for moral victories, we are looking for SEC victories,” head coach Eric Shore said. “I thought we played a lot better today. We were in the match and if we keep playing like that and we will be fine. We have to carry that over to next weekend.”

Auburn’s Lucas Lopasso and Rafael Rondino upset No. 52 Matteo Fago and Edward Jones, 9-8 (1) in the No. 3 spot. On court two, Tennessee’s No. 55 Tennys Sandgren and Rhyne Williams defeated No. 46 Alex Stamchev and Andreas Mies, 8-4. Tennessee clinched the doubles point as No. 1 Boris Conkic and John-Patrick Smith held off No. 43 Tim Puetz and Daniel Cochrane, 8-6.

In singles, No. 13 Smith cruised past No. 23 Puetz on court one, 6-3, 6-2. In the No. 6 spot, Jones took care of Lucas Lopasso, 6-2, 7-6.

Cochrane upset No. 41 Fago in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to give Auburn the first point of the match.  Tennessee clinched the win as No. 35 Sandgren defeated No. 104 Stamchev, 6-3, 6-3.

On court two, No. 3 Williams fought off a strong attack from Tim Hewitt, winning the match 7-5, 7-6 (4). In the last match of the day, No. 117 Mies defeated No. 113 Conkic on court five, 7-6, 7-6.

Up next for Auburn is a pair of home matches. On Friday the Tigers host South Carolina and welcome Florida on Sunday. Both matches will be held in the Yarbrough Tennis Center and admission is free.

Tigers head to Utah for tri-meet
CEDAR CITY, Utah – The No. 22 Auburn gymnastics team (4-5, 2-4 SEC) travels to Cedar City, Utah, to take on BYU (10-4-2) and the host Southern Utah (6-5, 3-2 WAC) in a tri-meet Monday at 8 p.m. CT in Centrum Arena. This will mark the second road meet in four days for the Tigers, as they defeat BYU Friday night, 195.000- 194.675.

“The one thing different about this meet is preparing for the structure we will see,“ Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. “It won’t rotate like it normally does so we did try to work on that on Tuesday of last week. We will start on bars, go to directly to beam, then to floor and finish up on vault so that is a different dynamic because normally we are used to finishing on a technical event on the road. We trained a little different for that.

“The other thing is that this tends to take a little longer so we end up having to slow down and start up. We’ve been doing that the last couple of weeks knowing that post-season is coming up. The other thing is that it is two meets on Friday and Monday. We went in yesterday and tried to give them a little bit of a workout while we are on the road; otherwise, they are sitting for a lot of time. I think we have done as well as we can considering the circumstances.”

This is the third meeting between the two schools, with Auburn leading the series 2-1. In the last meeting, the Tigers defeated Southern Utah 192.100-189.400 at Utah State in a four-way meet on March 6, 1998 in Logan, Utah.

Auburn is working towards getting several gymnasts back into the all-around and Graba plans on using two close meets to do so.

“I am anticipating that we are going to put Kylie (Shields) back into the all-around,“ Graba said. “We ended up moving her out of the all-around on Friday and putting Petrina (Yokay) in because she wasn’t warming up real well, and we didn’t want to beat her up early in the road trip. Kylie looked good in exhibition so we will probably try to get her back in. We will switch the lineup a little bit on bars. It will be the same girls just changing up who goes where.”

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