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A spirit that is not afraid

Tigers fall to Bulldogs in fourteen innings in SEC Tournament

<p>KK McCrary rounding third base after hitting the first home run for the Auburn Tigers in their second game against the Tennessee Lady Vols, March 30, 2024.</p>

KK McCrary rounding third base after hitting the first home run for the Auburn Tigers in their second game against the Tennessee Lady Vols, March 30, 2024.

Auburn suffered a fourteen inning walk off loss to seven-seed Georgia 3-2 in its opening round of the SEC Tournament at Jane B. Moore Field – marking the third straight week of a game lasting eleven innings or more.

Earlier on Wednesday, LSU and Alabama broke the record for the most innings in a single game in SEC Tournament history with 14, surpassing a 13-inning contest between Tennessee and Mississippi State in 2022. The record stood alone for a mere few hours before Auburn and Georgia tied it. 

“You just kind of blackout. I didn't even know it was 14 or 15 innings,” said Auburn left fielder KK McCrary. “Whatever it was, it really turned into pitch by pitch because you feel like every single pitch like, ‘this could be it. This could be it.”

The Tigers offense was held scoreless for 10 consecutive innings and wasn’t able to record a hit for the eight straight innings prior to an Annabelle Widra single which set up KK McCrary’s three-run home run to break the tie.  

“It's really cool just because we're at home. I see all the same fans almost every weekend so to make it a really good game for them was awesome. I wish we could have got the win but it was awesome in the moment,” McCrary said of her ninth homer of the season. 

As quickly as the momentum swung in the Tigers’ favor it went back in the other direction with Georgia immediately answering with two straight singles and then a game tying three-run home run by the SEC home run leader, Jayda Kearney, ending 12 consecutive scoreless innings for the Bulldogs. 

Three at-bats later Sarah Gordon sent the Bulldogs to the quarterfinals to take on two-seed Florida with a walkoff home run.

“That one's gonna sting,” said Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. “You're hosting a tournament. It's 14 innings. You're up three in the 14th. So that's gonna sting.”

Maddie Penta pitched the first nine innings for Auburn before Shelby Lowe came to relive the senior after 163 total pitches – her second most this season. Penta recorded six strikeouts to six walks and only gave up a single earned run. 

Lowe threw the final four and two thirds innings for the Tigers giving up four earned runs on eight hits and two walks. 

The Bulldogs were able to take advantage of Auburn miscues early with Dallis Goodnight scoring from second after Jayda Kearney struck out but made it to first off an Auburn dropped pitch and overthrow to first base. Kearney would also go on to score in the next at-bat. 

The first of Auburn’s two runs came in the first inning as the Tigers recorded two hits in the first three at-bats, scoring KK McCrary off an Icess Tresvik single. Tresvik would score Auburn’s other run in the third off an Amelia Lech sac fly after a double to start the inning.

Dean and the Tigers will now wait to see if the selection committee gives them a bid to the NCAA tournament and continues their 2024 season. The selection show will air on ESPN2 and is scheduled for Sunday, May 12 at 6 p.m. CST. 

“Now our focus is on regionals. We've shown that we can compete with anybody,” said McCrary. “I think we finished with the strongest schedule in the country. So we're looking forward to the postseason.”

Patrick Bingham | Sports Editor

Patrick is a sophomore from Auburn, Alabama, double majoring in journalism and marketing. He started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.

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