Auburn resumed play in the Wilson/DeMarini Classic Saturday with another doubleheader at Jane. B Moore Field. The Tigers beat both Western Carolina (5-0) and Western Illinois (6-2).
Against Western Carolina, the game seemed to be set early on.
In the second, catcher and senior Courtney Shea hit a solo homerun to put the Tigers on the board. Two batters later, junior Kendall Veach added two more points with her two-run homerun.
In the third, Shea brought Justus Perry to home plate with a RBI double, extending the lead to 4. Sophomore Alyssa Rivera hit a RBI single shortly after to put the score at 5-0.
The Tigers continued their excellence on the pitcher’s mound with Makayla Martin, Ashlee Swindle, and Kara Bilodeau combining for yet another shutout. Western Carolina only had four hits in seven innings.
Martin secured the first three innings with five strikeouts and no hits allowed. Swindle relieved Martin in the fourth, allowing four hits and no runs allowed in three innings. Swindle claimed her first win this season, improving to 1-0. Bilodeau closed out the game in the seventh to complete the shutout.
The Tigers continued right where they had left off for the second game of the night against Western Illinois.
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Draper started the game with a single, but ultimately reached third base with two consecutive stolen bases. KK Crocker reached first on a walk shortly after, and Auburn had two runners on base with no outs. Perry’s sacrifice fly brought Draper home, putting Auburn on the board early. Shea, who had a homerun and two RBIs in the first game of the day, added another RBI Double that brought Crocker home.
Draper and Crocker got on base once again to start off the third. Freshman Taylon Snow hit a RBI double to send in Draper, extending the lead to 3-0. With a sacrifice fly by Justus Perry and a hit by Alyssa Rivera, the Tigers made it 5-0 going into the fourth.
On a RBI double, Western Illinois was able to snag one run in the top of the fourth, making it 5-1. Then, in the sixth inning, WIU added scored another run with an inside-the-park homerun.
Draper added another run for the Tigers with an infield single late in the sixth to seal the game.
Kaylee Carlson pitched a complete game against Western Illinois, allowing two runs on seven hits. Carlson had three strikeouts and one walk.
The Tigers strength seems to be the trust the batters have for the pitchers. Scoring points early to relieve the pressure for pitchers is a main goal for the team according to Draper, the nation’s leader in stolen bases with 25.
“They’re incredible,” Draper said. “I can’t say enough about them. In at my bat, that’s what I’m trying to do for them: get on base and score them runs. They don’t have the opportunity to hit and they’re up there working their tail off."
Auburn improves to 21-2 of the season.
The Tigers will finish the Wilson/DeMarini Classic on Sunday afternoon with another doubleheader against Western Illinois at 11 a.m. CT and UNC-W at 1:30 p.m. CT.
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