The No. 17 Auburn softball team pulled off a sixth-inning comeback Friday night to beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 5-2 at home.
After a slow start to the game for both teams, Mississippi State scored its first two runs of the contest in the top of the fifth. After walking a hitter, Auburn’s ace Maddie Penta gave up her first hit of the night – a two-run home run.
In the first five innings of the contest, Auburn left nine runners on base and was unable to score. Trailing 2-0 after the top of the fifth, the Tigers rallied, scoring one run in the bottom of the fifth and four in the sixth.
“I have to give our hitters a lot of credit,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “They stayed with it. We came right back out in the sixth inning, and Jessie (Blaine) pinch hits and gets a single up the middle and we roll from there.”
Down 2-1, Auburn fought back in the sixth inning and tallied four runs in the inning to take the lead. Pinch hitter Jessie Blaine led and Nelia Peralta started the bottom of the inning with a pair of singles. With runners on first and second, Aubrie Lisenby laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and bring Bri Ellis to the batter’s box.
On the first pitch, Ellis hit a line drive single deep into left field, allowing Blaine and Peralta to score and give Auburn a 3-2 lead over the Bulldogs.
“That couldn’t have gone more perfect for me,” Ellis said. “I was really just trying to do something, put a bat on the ball, or a sacrificial fly. Anything.”
With Ellis on second, Lindsey Garcia reached first on a throwing error from the Bulldogs that sent Ellis home. KK McCrary then sent Abbie Smith home, who pinch ran for Garcia, on a sacrificial bunt, extending the Tigers lead to 5-2.
McCrary went 2-for-3 Friday night, claiming one RBI and two stolen bases.
“I feel relaxed because I know I can pass the bat,” McCrary said. “You get frustrated, but that’s when you have to just be calm in the box.”
With her victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night, Penta improved to 24-5 on the season. Despite giving up a two-run home run in the fifth inning, Penta finished the night allowing only four hits and struck out 10 batters. Penta currently ranks third in the nation in total strikeouts.
Auburn looks to clinch the series against Mississippi State tomorrow. Game two will begin at 3 p.m. CST and will be televised on SEC Network+.
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Grace Heim is a sophomore from Enterprise, Alabama majoring in English Literature. She started with The Plainsman in January 2023.