After a long rain delay, Auburn put away the Cal State Fullerton Titans 5-0. This was the second day in a row Auburn defeated the Titans. Auburn now advances to play the Clemson Tigers, who beat Auburn earlier Saturday 7-0. This will be the third all-time meeting of these programs.
Auburn took the lead early and never looked back. It was clear that Auburn came out a little slow after losing an emotional game just earlier in the day. After the slow start, the game was delayed due to weather.
To the delight of softball fans, the game resumed after an hour. Once the game resumed, Auburn got back to scoring runs. The Tigers put two up runs thanks to the bat of Rose Roach, who has been doing extremely well these past few weeks. She had a clutch two-RBI single to extend the lead to 3-0. Auburn grabbed the first run of the game after Lindsey Garcia walked with the bases loaded to score Denver Bryant.
The unexpected star of the game was Shelby Lowe. She provided the outs needed, and then some as Lowe retired the first 15 batters of the game. Lowe has had an up and down season. However, she turned in one of her best performances when it mattered on the brink of elimination and the season on the line. She completed the game with a complete game shutout.
Things really began to fall apart after the rain delay for Cal State Fullerton. The Titans allowed two runs after the break, and at the top of the fifth they once again allowed two more runs. With the rain, it did not help to the advantage of the Titans. They struggled popping out after the delay.
The ace in the circle for the Titans, Myka Sutherlin, was getting really bothered by the rain. It seemed that she was struggling with her control. She was putting up a great performance until the delay, but ended the day with five earned runs in 5.1 innings while walking nine batters.
While Cal State Fullerton's 34-21 record is not overly impressive, the Titans had the toughest out of conference schedule according to D1Softball.com and recorded good wins against Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, Ole Miss and others. They finished runner-up in the Big West, which produces some good softball teams every year. They gave Auburn everything they could, and then some.
With this win Auburn climbs to 42-18 on the year. The Tigers will get another chance at playing the 16 seed Clemson. Clemson and Auburn have played twice all time. However, it is worth noting Clemson just started its program four years ago. Clemson has won both contests, in the short span of time.
If Auburn wins, it will immediately play right afterwards against Clemson again. The winner of the Regional will advance to the Super Regionals and will most likely play the most dominant team in college softball, the Oklahoma Sooners.
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TP is a junior from Montgomery, Ala., majoring in journalism. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.