Troy softball knocks off Auburn 7-1

Published 10:20 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Teammates congratulate Troy's Sarah Shields (2) after a double during an NCAA college softball game against Auburn in Troy, Ala., Wednesday, March 21, 2012. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Before head softball coach Melanie Davis turned her team over to Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. for words of congratulations, she told the team that several years ago no one would have ever expected the Troy athletic programs capable of defeating both Alabama and Auburn in consecutive days.

That’s just what happened as Troy’s softball team topped #21 Auburn 7-1 on Wednesday just 24 hours after the baseball team’s 9-0 victory over Alabama.

“We had a really good approach as to what we wanted to do tonight,” Davis said. “I haven’t seen the type of killer instinct that our players showed tonight in a long time.”

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The Trojans (19-7) pounded out 13 hits against Auburn, who came into the game with a team earned run average of 1.12 and had allowed an average of just 3.6 hits per game.

Troy worked all week on a strategy tailored specifically for Auburn (23-7) and their next opponent, #8 Louisiana-Lafayette.

“We had a plan that the girls believed in and that showed on the scoreboard,” said Davis. “It was a philosophical approach and they laid it on the line.”

Freshman Ashley Rainey (9-3) silenced the Tigers’ bats in earning her seventh complete game of the season.

Rainey allowed just one run on four hits and benefited from a clean slate in the error column from her defensive teammates.

“I felt confident in all my pitches but the defense was phenomenal tonight,” Rainey said. “They saved me several times tonight.”

Rainey has been a constant performer for Troy.

“Nothing taken away from our other pitchers because we have some good ones, but Ashley handled the hype and pressure tonight and shut them down.”

The Trojans exploded for five runs in the second inning.

Michelle Hewett led off the inning with a stand-up triple and scored on Sarah Shields’ RBI single.

Rainey helped her cause with an RBI single to give Troy a 2-0 advantage.

Auburn’s second error of the inning led to Troy’s third run before Nikki Hollett ripped a 2-RBI double to extend the lead to 5-0.

“I would have been content with a couple of runs but that was a huge inning to help get us going,” Davis said. “Adding those two runs later pleased me even more though.”

The Trojans would add a pair in the fourth with RBIs from Kelly Luquette and Hollett, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI on the night.

Auburn starter Jenee Loree was hit with the loss after pitching 1 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on three hits.

Troy will host Sun Belt Conference opponent #8 Louisiana-Lafayette in a three-game series starting on Saturday with the first game of a doubleheader at 1p.m.

“We’ll come out to practice tomorrow and keep working,” Rainey said. “Hopefully, a series win this weekend will help us moving in to the conference tournament.”