Emily Carosone became a household name with her walk-off grand slam in Game 2 of the championship in the 2016 Women’s College World Series. But it wasn’t her power game that cemented her name in the record books at Auburn.
Carosone ended her collegiate career as the all-time leader in hits with 285 and hit by pitches with 85. No, you didn’t read that wrong: The Orlando native was hit by a pitch 85 times over four seasons.
“I am the type of player that any way I can get on base is going to help my team,” Carsone said in a phone interview. “It wasn’t ever about hitting the game-winning home run; it was just getting on base andgetting runners on, which helps the team win games.
“Any way I can get on, whether it’s getting a hit or getting hit is what I try to do.”
Entering the 2016 season, she was also the record holder for runs scored in a single season (88), runs batted in during a single season (80), hit by pitch in a single season (33), on-base percentage (.560), slugging percentage (.809) and total bases (157).
“If you can hit, you’ll be in the lineup,” she said. “There are a lot of good athletes out there who are amazing defenders but their hitting lacks. To win ball games, you have to hit.”
Carosone said at Auburn the players were always looking for something extra they could do for the team in the moment, and that included taking an extra base.
For those who watched Auburn’s super regional matchup against Arizona, they might remember a specific play when Carosone sparked a rally with an obstruction call in her favor. She saw the first baseman standing in the baseline between first and second base. She rounded first on the base hit and bumped into the first baseman, which gave her second base automatically.
“Once you know the rules, it’s easier to do those extra things,” she said. “Like knowing the obstruction call. You have the right to second base and if there is someone in your way that you happen to bump into, you automatically get that base.
“I think it’s hard for girls to step out of their comfort zone and do that kind of stuff, but once they do it once or twice, they realize that it really does work and it’s something they can do.”
Versatility is another word that describes Carosone. She played shortstop throughout high school, and when she arrived at Auburn she started at third base. Her sophomore year, she moved to second base and now, as a professional with the Chicago Bandits in National Pro Fastpitch, she has moved back to the hot corner.
“You never know where you’re going to be needed, and if your spot is taken by someone better, it’s nice to have a backup plan,” she said. “I was never one to put all my eggs in one basket. I’m glad I learned how to play outfield, third base, catcher, short, and second. It just gave me a lot of options to be in the lineup and start.”
Carosone’s advice to young athletes is to enjoy the game and embrace it.
“Softball has always been fun, don’t do something that you don’t love,” she said. “If it’s something that you truly love to do then enjoy every moment of it.”
From GameChanger and Maren Angus. Photo courtesy of Auburn.