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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn claims two victories to open Jane B. Moore Memorial

<p>Icess Tresvik (#3) throwing softball back to the mound against Virginia Tech at Jane B. Moore Field on February 10th 2024</p>

Icess Tresvik (#3) throwing softball back to the mound against Virginia Tech at Jane B. Moore Field on February 10th 2024

No. 25 Auburn softball hosted its first two games of the Jane B. Moore Memorial Saturday against Northwestern and South Carolina Upstate. Auburn entered the weekend with a record 8-2-1 looking to stay ranked ahead of the start of SEC play next Friday.

In their first game, the Tigers defeated Northwestern 1-0 in what proved to be a defensive and pitching battle. Neither team could break through until the fourth inning when Nelia Peralta led the inning off with a walk. After two groundouts by Makayla Packer and Rose Roach brought pinch runner Thalia Martin to third, a throwing error by the Northwestern third baseman brought in the games one and only run with Martin. 

The Auburn offense struggled in the game, only managing two hits, striking out nine times and leaving seven batters on base. Despite the poor outing, the Tigers still won thanks to the strong pitching of Maddie Penta.

Penta had another great start – picking up her fifth win of the season, pitching seven shutout innings and striking out 10 while allowing only four hits and one walk. Penta now sits only two career wins away from tying Kaylee Carlson for the all-time school record. 

Auburn head coach Mickey Dean owas impressed by Penta’s performance.

“If people don’t come watch her play, they are just missing out, so shame on them," Dean said. "It’s not just one time its every time, she works hard.”

In the second game of the day, Auburn faced off against South Carolina Upstate, defeating the Spartans 10-4. Auburn opened the game with a run in the first inning after Anna Wohlers walked and a double by Amelia Lech brought Wohlers home. Auburn found itself in trouble in the second inning when starting pitcher Shelby Lowe loaded the bases with no outs. 

Auburn made a pitching change midinning to Annabelle Widra, who proceeded to strike out two straight before giving up a grand slam to Alanna Deal. Auburn got out of the inning without any more damage after a flyout to KK McCrary. Auburn answered with its own two-run homer by Skyler Elkins to bring the Tigers within one run. 

Auburn took back the lead in the third. After three outs by USC Upstate, Auburn came to the plate and Anna got on first before Lech brought her home with a two-run homer to left field. Packer then hit a single to the outfield before stealing second, and an infield single by Rose Roach brought her home to give Auburn a lead of 6-4. 

Auburn scored again in the fourth, stretching its lead to six. The inning started with four walks, brining Widra home. Lech singled to bring in Icess Tresvik and pinch runner Abbey Smith. A sacrifice fly by Packer brought in the innings' final run in Wohlers to make the score 10-4. 

Auburn didn’t score again but held the six-run lead to defeat USC Upstate 10-4 in seven innings. Outside of the fourth inning, the pitching for Auburn performed well after Widra took over. Widra struck out four batters in six innings of relief pitching. 

“We’re playing good defense, as long as we play good defense, and our pitchers don’t give up the big runs we’re going to have a chance,” Dean said. 

Auburn showed it can win in a variety of ways after not hitting well against Northwestern but winning with defense and pitching, and even if the pitching isn’t there, the Tigers can light up the scoreboard. Auburn moves to 10-2-1 on the season and will continue the Jane B. Moore Memorial against USC Upstate again Sunday. 

Luke McClure | Sports Writer

Luke McClure is a junior from Huntsville, Alabama, majoring in sports production. He joined The Plainsman in fall 2023.

Twitter: @lukemcclure0

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