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Friday, March 31, 2023
<p>Kelly Barnhill. </p>

Kelly Barnhill. 

Auburn second baseman Casey McCrackin settled into the batter’s box in the bottom of the 10th inning with one out and runners at the corners.

She took a look at Florida pitcher Kelly Barnhill’s first pitch and swung.

McCrackin sent the ball to the warning track, where center fielder Jade Caraway made the catch for the out. It didn’t matter, because pinch-runner Makenna Dowell scored from third to end the game.

McCrackin’s walk-off sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a 2-1 win on Saturday and tied the series. Tomorrow’s rubber match will start at 1 p.m.

Auburn pitcher Chardonnay Harris pitched all 10 innings for the Tigers (35-14, 10-10 SEC) and struck out 17 batters. She also gave up only five hits and walked four.

Harris’ stellar performance in the circle was countered by a solid outing from freshman Elizabeth Hightower for the Gators. Hightower went six innings, struck out seven and allowed just two hits and one earned run.

UF (38-13, 10-10 SEC) struggled to get anything resembling offense against Harris, especially when first baseman Amanda Lorenz and designated player Kendyl Lindaman weren’t at the plate. The two had three of Florida’s five hits, and the rest of the team went just 2 for 29 against Harris.

The game was scoreless for five innings. The Gators finally got on the board with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Lorenz and Lindaman hit back-to-back singles before left fielder Jaimie Hoover hit an RBI single to knock in Lorenz.

Auburn evened the score in the bottom of the inning when catcher Kendall Veach socked a solo home run to left field with two outs.

Barnhill replaced Hightower in the bottom of the seventh, and the game stayed scoreless for another three innings. The Gators’ best chance at taking the lead in extra innings came in the top of the 10th with the bases loaded and two outs. Hoover grounded out to second to end that threat.

The Tigers led off the bottom of the 10th with consecutive singles, but they ended up with only Dowell on second after right fielder Alyssa Rivera was tagged out trying to advance to third on the second hit. Dowell took third on a wild pitch on an intentional walk and scored a batter later on McCrackin’s sacrifice fly to end the game.

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Contact Brendan Farrell at and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727.

Kelly Barnhill. 

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