Auburn softball’s starting pitching duo of Kaylee Carlson and Makayla Martin culminated in two shutouts on Opening Day, so head coach Mickey Dean went with the same formula on Friday night to again see the Tigers’ opponents finish with zeros on the board.
Carlson’s second complete game shutout in as many days gave the Tigers a 3-0 win over Tennessee Tech, and both Martin and freshman Chardonnay Harris pitched Auburn to a 2-0 victory against Furman in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader.
Auburn’s pitching has yet to give up a run through 28 innings to start the 2018 season.
“It’s better than the alternative,” Dean said. “I just really like the way we’re competing right now. I really do.”
Despite not feeling as great as Thursday night, Carlson allowed only two hits to Tennessee Tech, the fewest she had given up while going seven innings since she pitched at North Carolina in 2015.
“Cool, I guess,” Carlson said. “I felt pretty good, I just didn’t feel as good. My changeup was definitely better tonight than yesterday, so that might have been the difference.”
Martin was evidently not as sharp as the previous night and was replaced by Harris in the fourth inning after Furman batters doubled and walked to begin the frame.
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The freshman was not phased by the jam in her first appearance on the mound at Auburn - striking out the first two batters she faced looking - and eventually getting Auburn out of the inning with no harm. Of the twelve outs Harris recorded, six were by strikeout.
“I’ve been waiting for this,” Harris said. “ I was pretty anxious yesterday. He (Dean) said I was going to be in relief, so I just knew I had to come in composed with a calm demeanor and get the job done.”
Harris was faced with more adversity in the final inning when Alyssa Rivera made an error on what could have been the final out of the game and two runners were able to get in scoring position. However, she battled back and struck out Furman center fielder Lauren Duggar to end the game.
“It’s a good start,” Harris said. “It keeps me confident. I’m also very humble just to be a part of this experience. I told myself I want to strike out the first batter of my career, I did that. I’m halfway there because I also want to strike out the last hitter of my career.”
Auburn resumes play in the Plainsman Invitational tomorrow as it will face both Tennessee Tech and Wichita State for the second time this weekend. First pitch is currently scheduled for 2 p.m. from Jane B. Moore Field.
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