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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn rally falls short to Kentucky in series loss

<p>Maddie Penta (#9) for Auburn pitches against Kentucky University.</p>

Maddie Penta (#9) for Auburn pitches against Kentucky University.

The Auburn Tigers' (23-15-1, 5-12 SEC) late inning rally fell short as No. 24 Kentucky (29-15, 7-10 SEC) claimed the series with a 2-1 win Sunday night at Jane B. Moore Field.

Senior ace pitcher, Maddie Penta surrendered only two earned runs on two total hits to the Wildcats in her 102 pitch complete-game outing. Penta started off the game strong, striking out four of her first six batters faced.

Penta continued to showcase her all-American arm, strongly maintaining her sub 1.70 season ERA and finishing with nine strikeouts and only four walks.  

Hitting woes for Auburn have been a theme as of late, the Tigers were held hitless through the first five innings of the game.

In the sixth, a lead-off home run for Amelia Lech, her team-leading 10th homer of the season, and followed by a pinch hit single from Mariah Penta put the Tigers in prime position to get right back into the game. 

Amelia Lech (#34) hits a home-run in the sixth ending against Kentucky University.

However, even with a walk from KK McCrary and Mariah Penta getting to third base via a sacrifice groundout from Annabelle Widra and a wild pitch, Anna Wohlers struck out swinging to end the inning with runners at the corners. 

“It comes down to timely hitting,” said Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. “The team that gets the timely hits wins the ball game. They got it, and we didn’t.”

With Icess Tresvik on first following a walk, Amelia Lech stepped up to bat in the bottom of the seventh in hopes of recreating her previous at bat -- a moonshot over the left field wall. With a full count, Lech struck out swinging, ending the game and dropping the Tigers' fifth conference series of the season. 

Auburn wasn't able to cash out in any of its three at bats with runners in scoring position.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, were able to take advantage of their few offensive opportunities. With two on via walks in the fourth inning, Karissa Hamilton knocked a two-out single up the middle to plate a pair of runs to break the stalemate. 

Kentucky freshman pitcher, Sydney Langdon, holding a 4.03 season ERA coming into tonight's start, improved to a 3.35 ERA in her single-run outing against Auburn. Langdon seemed to be very comfortable in the circle at Jane B. Moore Field with four strikeouts.

The Tigers and Wildcats will finish the series tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. CST at Jane B. Moore Field. Television coverage will be on the SEC Network and the game can be heard on the Auburn Sports Network. 

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Charlie Diegnan | Sports Writer

Charlie is a freshman from Mendham, New Jersey. He is majoring in journalism and started with The Plainsman in spring 2024.

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