Auburn (9-5) split a pair of games in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday, besting No. 25 Northwestern but falling to Cal on the second day of the tournament.
Makenna Dowell was the hero of the Tigers first game against the No. 25-ranked Wildcats, driving in the game tying run in the fourth inning.
Dowell’s base running on her single forced Northwestern into a tight squeeze. With a runner on third, and Dowell turning towards second, the defense elected to force Dowell back to first while Alyssa Rivera ran in the run. The Tigers battled on to win 6-4.
"We did a nice job of base running in the first game,” said Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. “We made some good defensive plays. We made some key strikeouts. We had some big hits in situations. We had some big two-out hits in that first game."
Finding themselves down 2-0 early, the Tigers fought back the entire game against their foes from Evanston, Illinois. Jaylin Calvert smacked in a two-run homer to right field in the top of the second to tie the game, and Dowell scored in the third putting the Tigers up 3-2.
The Wildcats scored two in the third, but behind Dowell’s hitting and base running, the Wildcats never regained the lead.
This come from behind victory marks Auburn’s fourth such game of the season and Auburn’s first win over a ranked opponent.
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Ashlee Swindle earned her fifth win of the season on the mound. Pitching the whole game, Swindle allowed four runs off five hits, walked two but struck-out three.
Against California, the Tigers opened up hot. Rivera started the game with a single, Dowell reached first and Tannon Snow then loaded the bases. Maddison Koepke knocked the first runner home with a single to right field.
The Golden Bears immediately answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, behind a fielding error and a wild pitch by redshirt junior Lexie Handley.
Though the Tigers fell to California 8-1, Handley only allowed one earned run in her first loss of the season. The lefty struck out three and walked three in a complete game performance.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, a costly fielding error sealed Auburn’s fate. Cal’s bats were kept alive after the error and Candace Yingling took advantage taking a grand slam to left center.
“We didn't execute in that second game,” Dean said. “We are going to get better. The score in game two was not indicative to the game until right there at the end. We just got to put it all together."
The Tigers will take the field again in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday against No. 5 Arizona. The first pitch is scheduled for 11:30 CST.
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