A five-run second inning by UCF was all they needed as Auburn fell short in a 5-4 loss at the Tallahassee Regional on Friday.
“We try to learn from every win and learn from every loss,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “There were a lot of things we could have done, but when you get to this stage, it is all about execution. When we executed, we looked great. When we didn’t, we weren’t able to put runs on the board because we couldn’t move runners.”
Auburn will face the loser of Florida State and Kennesaw State in an elimination game Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CST.
After a scoreless top of the first by starting pitcher Shelby Lowe, Auburn got on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Alyssa Rivera led off with a triple for the Tigers, and Sydney Cox’s RBI single with one out gave Auburn the lead.
The 1-0 lead did not last long as the Knights responded with a five-run second inning. UCF started the second inning off with a double, single, RBI double and a single to take a 2-1 lead.
Following the RBI double and single, Lowe’s day was done as KK Dismukes took over in the circle. Dismukes came into the game with runners on the corners and no outs.
After a stolen base by UCF put runners on second and third, a groundout scored another run for the Knights. After the groundout, UCF followed it up with a walk and back-to-back RBI singles.
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A fielder’s choice and groundout ended the top half of the inning as UCF led 5-1.
The Tigers began chipping away at the lead in the bottom of the second. Lindsey Garcia may have led off with a walk, but a Justus Perry fly out, and an Aspyn Godwin groundout gave the Knights two outs.
With two outs, Rivera singled to move Garcia to third before Tyler King reached on a throwing error which scored Garcia. Cox had another big hit for the Tigers as she had an RBI double which brought home King and Rivera.
UCF may have taken a 5-1 lead in the top of the second, but three Auburn runs in the bottom half of the inning made it 5-4.
After a high-scoring start for both teams, both pitchers settled down and kept things scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Dismukes pitched six innings in relief for the Tigers, allowing seven hits, one run, three walks and struck out two. On the other side, UCF’s starting pitcher Gianna Mancha pitched 3.1 innings and allowed six hits, four runs, but only one earned and struck out two.
Alea White pitched the remainder of the game for UCF as she went 3.2 innings. White gave up two hits, two walks and struck out two.
In the bottom of the seventh and down to their last three outs, the Tigers loaded the bases. A leadoff single from Rivera and a bunt by King got two runners on before Cox’s sacrifice bunt advanced them to second and third.
A walk to Makenna Dowell loaded up the bases with one out, which brought up Makayla Packer. On a 2-2 count, Packer grounded out into a double play which ended the scoring threat and game.
“We put ourselves in a position to either tie it up or win it,” Dean said. “We kept battling and battling. It just didn’t happen.”
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