Auburn swept its way through a five-game home series behind four victories in two days over four different opponents.
The team finished the weekend with 22 home runs through just 16 games. The team hit 22 in all of last season.
Offense and pure power is not at a lack in this team, and it put that on display in the Plainsman Invite, mashing five home runs and tallying 27 runs over four games.
“The kids have worked hard in the weight room,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “They trust in what’s being taught. I see it every day in the cages, and I see it translate out here on the field.”
Auburn swept the Saturday double header in two totally different types of games. The Tigers won game one in mercy rule fashion behind hot bats, 9-0 over Delaware State, before relying on Maddie Penta and the pitching staff in a one-run contest with Bradley that went Auburn’s way in a 2-1 final.
“We’ll take the wins, but we have some things to work on,” Dean said. “I’m proud of our kids. Bradley played us really tough. They were able to keep us off-balance at the plate. There are always things we want to get better at, but we have some things we’re executing well. We’ll go watch the film and really digest our play today, especially after a close game like this.”
In game one against Delaware State, the Tigers used a complete team effort to win in five innings for its sixth run-rule victory of the year.
20 different players saw the field, and eight of them recorded base hits. Four of them were extra base hits, including a long ball from freshman shortstop Nelia Peralta.
Denver Bryant led the team with three RBIs, and freshman Jesse Blaine also knocked in multiple runs with two RBIs.
Maddie Penta started the game on the mound, but only worked one inning in the game. After she retired two on strikeouts in a scoreless frame, and the offense gave the team a nice, six-run pad after one inning, she handed the ball to Samantha Yarbrough.
The senior Yarbrough earned her first win of the season while fanning five hitters and only allowing three runners to reach base in four innings of labor.
On offense, the Tigers jumped out with a six-run opening inning after loading the bases with a pair of singles and a walk. Blaine got the party started with a two-run single with one out. Lindsey Garcia followed with a sacrifice fly.
Bryant then hammered a double to left field for two RBIs before she came around to score the sixth run of the opening inning on a Carlee McCondichie bunt back to the pitcher that she beat out for a single.
Peralta added on to the lead with a solo dinger in the second to put Auburn up 7-0, before a Bryant sacrifice fly in the third inning extended its lead further.
The ninth and final run came in the fourth inning when freshman Kenadie Cooper earned a walk in her first at bat of her college career. After moving to second base on a passed ball, another freshman, Rose Roach, doubled her home for her first collegiate RBI.
Penta took the circle once again to start the game with Bradley, but this outing lasted much longer for her.
She came one out away from a complete-game shutout, pitching 6.2 innings and surrendering one unearned run before Shelby Lowe recorded the final out for the save in Auburn’s 2-1 win over the Braves.
“During warmups, I could tell that my velocity was on and that my rise ball was working for me as well as my changeup,” Penta said. “I just went out there and competed for my teammates. I know that they have my back, so I do it for them.”
This game was much more competitive than the first, and scoring came as a rarity for both sides.
Auburn started out the scoring in the second inning when Aubrie Lisenby dropped a single into shallow right and Garcia came around to touch the plate. After the run scored, Lisenby was thrown out trying to stretch her hit to a double to end the inning.
From that point, the scoreboard was all blanks until the fifth inning, when Makayla Packer slugged her fifth home run of the campaign for a solo shot that put the Tigers up 2-0.
That was the last of their offense in the game, as Bradley held them scoreless for the remainder of the night. The homer proved to be the difference-maker for Auburn in the win.
However, the Braves made it a nerve-racker in the top of the seventh, as they got a pair on first and second base with the help of an Auburn error and a single.
One out away from another complete-game shutout, Bradley knocked a single into center that brought home a run.
With the winning and tying runs on base for Bradley, Lowe came in the game and induced a ground ball on just three pitches to give Auburn the victory, and help it finish the doubleheader with a sweep.
This serves as Lowe’s second save of the season, and she, like her team’s home record, stayed undefeated.
Auburn swept another double header on Sunday behind dominant pitching and 16 runs on offense.
“I told the team earlier, 'When there’s only one plate of food on the table, and two teams trying to get that plate of food, only one’s going eat. You better make sure you get in there and eat,' and we did a good job of that,” Dean said.
Game three was all Auburn, as they used an eight-run third inning to run-rule Syracuse by a score of 9-0.
Lowe got the start in the game after recording the final out yesterday and shined.
She began the day by sitting down three straight batters for an immaculate first inning. In a shutout effort, she dominated the Orange with 11 strikeouts compared to no walks, allowing just five hits in five innings for her seventh win of the season.
Getting on the board right off the bat was the Tigers, as leadoff hitter Packer reached base and came around to touch the plate on Peralta’s RBI single.
The third inning served as an offensive breakout for Auburn with eight runs. Peralta kept her perfect day going with an RBI double to right center. Blaine followed with a run-scoring groundout for the second out.
Auburn then started a two-out rally, courtesy of back-to-back jacks. First, it was a two-run no-doubter from Bri Ellis, her fifth of the season.
Immediately, Aspyn Godwin came up to the plate and rocketed the ball midway up the scoreboard in left-center once again for a solo shot.
The Tigers’ rally wasn’t done there. Their seven-hit inning stayed alive with a double to deep center that scored Bryant and McCondichie before Packer came in to score the eighth run of the frame on a passed ball.
Lowe then finished off the mercy rule win with two more scoreless frames, and Auburn got ready to finish the weekend in its match with the ULM Warhawks, who it defeated 3-0 on Friday.
The Tigers defeated the Warhawks 7-3 in their rematch behind a dominant Lowe, who earned the three-inning save after taking over for Penta in the fifth inning.
Auburn opened the scoring with a two-out RBI single from Bryant in the home portion of the second inning, but ULM stole the momentum right back in the third inning, scoring three runs and escaping a bases-loaded jam by retiring Ellis on strikes.
The Warhawks got runners on second and third to start the frame before a groundout advanced them both, scoring one. After a walk and a stolen base, a Madelyn Fletcher single drove home two more and putting the Warhawks in the lead, 3-1.
“We’re a good team," Godwin said. "This is one of the best teams I’ve been on here at Auburn. When we get down, we don’t get down on ourselves, so as long as we stay up we can win every game."
In the home half of the fourth, another lead change occurred, this time in the Tigers’ favor. They tacked on three runs via a throwing error by the pitcher, allowing Godwin to score and Bryant to reach first base.
After a McCondichie single put runners on first and second, third baseman Sydney Cox hit a line drive to the right field wall for two RBIs, and Auburn took a 4-3 lead to the fifth inning.
In the fifth, Lowe took over in the circle after Penta pitched four innings, ending her day after she gave up three runs on three hits and two walks and striking out four.
The three-run frame in the bottom of the fourth for the Tigers was enough to give Penta her seventh win of the season and her second in two days.
In the fifth inning, Garcia decided a one-run lead wasn’t good enough. With two outs, she added run support with a three-run long ball over the fence in dead center field. After a flyout for the third out, Auburn went to the final inning with a 7-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh inning, Lowe slammed the door. She finished her weekend without allowing a single run and striking out 27 hitters in 15.1 innings of work. Her work earned her two wins and two saves on the weekend
“Everybody’s just kind of coming together as a team and learning their role,” Lowe said. “That’s something that we didn’t do in the past. This year, everybody’s playing their role and we’re succeeding.”
On the batting side, Packer went 5/7 with two RBIs to improve her season average to .478, and Peralta went 3/5 with two walks and two RBIs.
“We want to win 10 more,” Dean said. “If we play the game right, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. If we start thinking about who our opponent is and altering our game according to who we’re playing, I think we’re going backwards.”
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