Auburn softball was soundly defeated as the Tigers fell to Clemson 7-0. It was almost a year ago today when Auburn went to McWhorter stadium and lost to Clemson in regional play 1-0. Today's contest was following that script, until things got out of hand in the later stages of the game.
Auburn struggled to get hits off the elite Valerie Cagle. Cagle is one of the best pitchers in the country with a 1.20 ERA on the season. Maddie Penta was in the circle for Auburn and did a great job. However, the bats got cold when it mattered most. She was unable to get the job done late in the game as Clemson‘s bats eventually started to pour it on.
Auburn was making contact, as it only struck out four times on the day. But there wasn't much going on with the bats. Between pop ups, groundouts and every other kind of out, Auburn just could not find its way on base Saturday.
The game started with very few baserunners and incredible defensive plays by both sides. The momentum took a drastic turn when McKenzie Clark sent a ball into deep center field for a solo home run. This was all Clemson needed as it never trailed from that point onward.
The game really slipped away for Auburn in the bottom of the fifth when with two outs and two runners on, Ally Miklesh sent two home with an RBI single. The next bat was Cagle, who proceeded to send a ball off the foul pole to put the game out of reach. Auburn had struggled to get hits, let alone runs. It was a tall task to ask for against one of the ACC's best. Clemson scored another off an RBI single to extend the lead.
From then on, it was all defense as Auburn only had one hit for the entirety of the game. Clemson struggled early on to get hits, but started getting its hits later on as the game went on. It seemed it figured out the Auburn pitching late and made head coach Mickey Dean’s squad pay for it. Clemson continued to crush the Auburn pitching as it was making great contact.
Last year's game may have had a singular run outcome, but not this year, as Clemson dominated for most of the game. This was just the second all-time meeting, as this is just the fourth year of Clemson having a softball program.
This was not the desired result for Auburn as it will now wait until Saturday night to face the winner of Cal State Fullerton and North Carolina Greensboro. If Auburn wins, it will face Clemson again tomorrow. Auburn will have to beat Clemson two games in a row. Auburn played Cal State Fullerton yesterday and beat the Titans soundly 12-2.
Clemson finishes today and will wait until tomorrow to see who it will play. Clemson's record climbs to 48-9 on the season, while Auburn drops to 41-18.
Auburn’s next contest will be played Saturday night at 5 p.m. CST.
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TP is a junior from Montgomery, Ala., majoring in journalism. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.