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AU turns tables on Gators

OXFORD, Miss. – The numbers didn’t add up for Auburn’s softball team. The Tigers had lost 13 straight to Florida. The Gators had won 17 of their last 18, and hit 15 home runs in a sweep at Auburn last month.

Lauren Guzman had two hits and drove in three runs against Florida

But everything changed on the first day of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Lauren Guzman and Kelley Smiley drove in three runs apiece and pitchers Jenee Loree and Angel Bunner combined to SEC’s most potent offense in check as the No. 23 Tigers, the No. 7 seed, dominated the No. 3 Gators, the No. 2 seed, 6-2 at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.

Auburn improved to 39-16 and plays No. 3 seed Tennessee at 2 p.m. CDT Friday in the semifinals of the single-elimination tournament. Florida fell to 47-9.

The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning and three more in the fifth. Other than scoring single runs in the fourth and seventh innings, the Gators mounted no serious threats against Loree or Bunner. The Tigers turned two inning-ending double plays.

“This was a great win for us,” Auburn coach Tina Deese said. “We had a good performance from all the kids in every facet of the game. Jenee started strong, and our defense made some very big plays behind her. We brought Angel in and our defense made a big double play to get us out of the fourth inning after Florida scored a run. This was a total team win today.”

Loree got the start and gave up a run on three hits in three innings. Bunner went the final four innings, allowing one run on three hits to get the win and improve to 16-6 on the season.

Auburn played a ranked team for the seventh consecutive time. It has won five of those.

Guzman, Smiley, Kyndall White and Caitlin Stangl had two hits apiece, combining for all of Auburn’s eight hits. White’s double was the only extra-base hit in the game.

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