Rhodes leads Auburn past UCLA 10-3 in WCWS
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) This time, there was no doubt.
Jade Rhodes had three hits and scored twice to help Auburn rout UCLA 10-3 on Thursday, the opening day of the Women's College World Series.
It was a rematch of last year's world series showdown, when Auburn won 11-10 in 10 innings to eliminate the Bruins.
This was over early. Auburn scored five runs on just one hit in the bottom of the first inning. Four Tigers were hit by pitches, and three of them scored. The lone hit was a double by Kasey Cooper, who later scored.
''It was an unusual inning, but again, it is what we do; we take advantage of what they give us,'' Auburn coach Clint Myers said. ''If they're going to throw it in the box, we're going to get it. I mean, it's pretty simple. We did what we needed to do in that first inning, and it was a very good first inning for us because of the fact that we executed timely hitting and took advantage of what they gave us.''
The Bruins also committed three errors.
''There's no need to be Captain Obvious - we did not come out and play our game,'' UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. ''There is no reason to look backward. We've got to be able to figure out what we're going to do next and fully commit to that and take the game one pitch at a time. We're here because we have done that.''
Auburn (55-10) extended its early five-run lead in the third when Emily Carosone singled in two runs.
UCLA (40-15-1) made it a game when Mysha Sataraka hit a three-run homer in the top of the fourth, her 14th blast of the season. Auburn scored once in the fourth and twice in the sixth to pull away.
Auburn's Kaylee Carlson pitched a seven-inning complete game for the win and improved to 18-2. She gave up seven hits, struck out two and walked two.
''We had one little hiccup there in the middle, but again, it's about how you finish,'' Myers said. ''She composed herself, went out there, and threw zeros the rest of the way.''
Tiffany Howard scored three runs and Cooper had two hits for Auburn. Sataraka, Kylee Perez and Zoe Shaw each had two hits for UCLA.
Auburn will play Georgia, a 5-4 winner over Florida State in the first game of the day, in a winners' bracket game Saturday.
UCLA will play Florida State in an elimination game Saturday.
''The best thing we have going is it is a double-elimination tournament,'' Inouye-Perez said. ''We have the ability to fight back, and I have great faith in this team, the individuals and coaching staff.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP