(Photo Courtesy of Auburn Athletics)
By Charles Goldberg – AuburnTigers.com
AUBURN, Ala. — You want the fans to stand up and cheer? Just let them watch Kasey Cooper and Branndi Melero hit home runs for the second straight game. Auburn coach Clint Myers gave a nod to that power Sunday, but he doesn’t want you to forget the quality defense and pitching in the Tigers’ 7-0 win over No. 24 LSU.
Lexi Davis won for the ninth time, backed by the six combined RBIs from Cooper and Melero and one good defensive play after another. Auburn took two of the three games in the first SEC series of the season.
“Look at the linescore for Lexi…eight hits, no runs, no walks, two strikeouts. That tells me that was a great team win because of the fact the defense was so instrumental,” Myers said. “We’ve been saying it all along: We’re different. We’re going to attack and not give them opportunities to score; we’re going to play as good a defense as we can. We did the little things great today. That was the best game we’ve had to date because all the facets…our pitching in the circle was outstanding, our defense was unbelievable.”
Auburn improved to 19-4-1 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. LSU fell to 17-8 overall and 1-2 in the league.
Cooper and Melero hit homers in Saturday’s 6-4 win and repeated the feat Sunday. Melero hit a 3-run homer in the first and has a team-high 37 RBIs, the best in the SEC. Cooper hit a 2-run homer in the fourth. Emily Carosone had Auburn’s other RBI.
“We’re not competitive with each other at all. We just go up there and try to do our job,” Melero said.
Myers said he doesn’t want his hitters thinking home runs.
“We talked about it our meeting today: A home run is nothing more than the byproduct of a good swing,” Myers said.
Still, Auburn has 31 homers in 24 games. The Tigers had 32 homers in 53 games last year.
Auburn may not be looking for homers, but they were appreciated.
“Lexi is out there pitching her heart out, and to have a few extra runs, she was happy, I can tell you that,” Myers said.
It was a good start to the SEC season as the Tigers followed Myers’ instructions to be disciplined at the plate on offense, and for the Auburn pitchers to be aggressive early in the count. The Tigers had 14 hits in the three games, yet scored 14 runs. How? Five home runs…and 14 walks.
“It’s just quality at-bats. We’re proud of each other,” Cooper said.
Auburn goes back to non-conference play in the coming week. The Tigers play host to Troy at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and then will stage the War Eagle Classic next weekend. Auburn plays Radford and Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne on Friday.