June 04, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The Auburn Tigers couldn't get much going until they were down to their last chance.

They found a way, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning to beat Georgia 4-3 on Saturday night in the Women's College World Series.

''It was a hell of a game,'' Auburn coach Clint Myers said.

Auburn (56-10), which matched last year's school record for wins, needs one more victory to advance to the championship series.

''We're very excited,'' Myers said. ''You know, it puts us in a great place. I'm really proud of the fight - they never quit. They stayed in the ballgame, and they beat a very, very good Georgia team.''

Georgia scored runs in the second, third and fourth innings and took a 3-1 lead into the top of the seventh.

Auburn's Victoria Draper led off with a single. Tiffany Howard reached on a fielder's choice, and an error kept both runners on. Kasey Cooper, Auburn's best player, singled to score Draper and make it 3-2. Emily Carosone followed with a single to score Howard and chase Georgia starter Chelsea Wilkinson. Cooper then scored on a fielder's choice to give Auburn a 4-3 lead.

Auburn ran into some controversy at the end of the inning. On the play that produced the winning run, Carosone was called out because she ran outside the basepath. The batter, Jade Rhodes, reached first base, then vacated it. Auburn's first base coach physically assisted her back to the base, a violation that was an automatic out to end the inning. The run counted because the third out was not a force out.

''My excitement got to me, but then I have to realize like the run did count,'' Rhodes said. ''So even though my excitement got to me, I can't let myself get down, so I had to go back on defense, and we had to finish it strong.''

Georgia (46-19) still had a chance. The Bulldogs had two on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but didn't score.

''It's tough,'' Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer said. ''It's tough to lose. It's tough when you put your heart out there, but I'm proud of them for putting their heart out there and fighting with everything that they have.''

Now, the Bulldogs will play another Southeastern Conference rival, LSU, in an elimination game on Sunday.

''I think our conference is amazing, and it's tough, and it's a dogfight every game that you get to play, and we feel that every time we get out there,'' Harris-Champer said. ''So we're excited to play. We're excited to still be here and having an opportunity to compete.''

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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