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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn continues conference losing streak after dropping opener against Mississippi State

<p>Feb. 13, 2022; Auburn, Ala; Carlee McCondichie (left), Makayla Packer (center) and Lindsey Garcia (right) talk in the outfield during a break in the action against UMass Lowell in the Tiger Invitational.</p>

Feb. 13, 2022; Auburn, Ala; Carlee McCondichie (left), Makayla Packer (center) and Lindsey Garcia (right) talk in the outfield during a break in the action against UMass Lowell in the Tiger Invitational.

No. 18 Auburn dropped the away series opener versus Mississippi State on Friday, April 22, with a final score of 3-2 to bring its conference record to 7-9. 

Sophomore Maddie Penta picked up the start, and her fifth loss of the season, for the Tigers. Penta pitched for six innings, giving up three runs with only one of them being earned. She also collected eight strikeouts and walked two batters. 

"Maddie (Penta) had one bad inning," said head coach Mickey Dean. "It started with an error and all the sudden she went a little wild and wasn’t hitting her spots."

The game was offensively dry until Auburn scored its only two runs of the game in the top of the fourth inning. After a one-out single by freshman Nelia Peralta, Bri Ellis blasted another home run in her impressive freshman campaign to plate the two runs. 

The Bulldogs also plated their only runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. A defensive error started off the inning on a positive note for Mississippi. With one out, a home run by Mississippi State’s Moreno tied the game at two runs apiece. A hit batter and a single with two outs came back to bite the Tigers as it allowed the winning run to be scored.

The third run for Mississippi State was originally not counted, as the runner was ruled tagged out while trying to score. However, video review of the play showed defensive obstruction of the plate by the Auburn catcher, senior Aspyn Godwin, and the run was awarded to the Bulldogs to put them ahead by one. 

"I don’t agree with the call at the plate, but that’s something that needs to go to the rules committee for further review," Dean said. "I don’t understand how obstruction can be called when you are in a rundown.”

The offensive side of the game for the Tigers was slow. With the team hitting a collective 4-for-25 on the night, the freshmen were the offensive highlights of the game for Auburn. Ellis went 1-for-3 with a two-RBI home run. Freshman Jessie Blaine, who went 1-for-3 as well, attempted to start an offensive rally in the top of the sixth inning with a double, but was left stranded. 

Going on a six-game SEC losing skid, Auburn’s last conference win came in the series opener against Florida on April 1. The Tigers were swept last weekend by Arkansas and ended up losing the series to Florida. After also previously losing the Kentucky series before playing Florida, Auburn is in critical need of a win in this series against Mississippi State if it hopes to redirect the season's course. 

The all-important game two against the Bulldogs will begin at 4p.m. CST, broadcast on SEC Network. 


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