Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid

Tigers pounce early, hold off late rally in win over No. 16 Alabama

Ameia Lech (#34) gets a homerun against Alabama in the first inning to start the game with 2 points at Jane B. Moore Field on May 2nd 2024.
Ameia Lech (#34) gets a homerun against Alabama in the first inning to start the game with 2 points at Jane B. Moore Field on May 2nd 2024.

Auburn’s offense jumped out to an early lead and held off a seventh inning Crimson Tide rally to take the first of three games against No. 16 Alabama 4-3 on Thursday night at Jane B. Moore Field – marking the Tigers’ 999th win in program history.  

“It's very big,” said senior pitcher Maddie Penta. “I mean, obviously the rivalry is so intense every single year and the new girls get to feel that kind of energy. The crowd was great today. The defense, hitting and pitching for the most part was great. Great team win and hoping to carry it into the next few days.”

The Tigers’ bats got hot in a hurry in their eighth top 25 win of the season, scoring in the first three innings of the contest. Amelia Lech got the night going with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first – marking 11 total home runs this season.

“I think that she thought that she could get me out but I was just so locked in. I was gonna swing anywhere that was relatively close and I knew I was gonna put a barrel on it,” Lech said.

Auburn would score a run in each of the next two innings to take a commanding 4-0 lead. 

“We played poorly last week at Ole Miss. I think they wanted to prove that they were better than that,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “So they came out for two days of practice and they were really focusing on what they were going to see tonight.”


Axe Milanowski(#23) celebrates run against Alabama with teammate KK McCrary (#16) at Jane B. Moore Field on May 2nd 2024


Despite not scoring in the fourth and fifth innings, Auburn continued to pose a threat on the base paths but couldn’t extend the lead resulting in a combined five runners left on base. 

The inability to score insurance runs proved to not come back and haunt the Tigers after holding the seventh inning Alabama rally to three runs. 

In her first six innings of work, Penta recorded just three walks and seven strikeouts on 88 total pitches. The final frame, however, proved to be more difficult with the senior giving up a lead off walk, a two-run home run to Kali Heivilin and a double to pinch hitter Lauren Esman in her first three batters faced. 


Maddie Penta (#9) celebrates strikeout against Alabama batter at Jane B. Moore Field on May 2nd 2024


“They were sending the first pitches, and she (Penta) was getting too much from the plate,” Dean said. “Then we started calling changeups. It became easy.”

Penta was able to calm the storm with the leading run at the plate and end the game with back-to-back strikeouts – bring her total to nine on the night. 

“The last inning, obviously, things got away from me a bit. They were changing their approach, attacking early. Changing what I was throwing on the first pitch helped me out and I just need to relax,” Penta said of her seventh inning performance. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

Auburn will go for the series win and their fourth straight victory over Alabama in the rivalry series at 5 p.m. CST on Friday, May 3 with television coverage on the SEC Network.

“This was my first experience in this rivalry, transferring from a school that didn't even believe in rivalry,” Lech said. “This is amazing and so special to me to be able to have this win and for Penta to have this one. I'm just so excited. And I think this is really going to carry us for the rest of the season.”


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.


Share and discuss “Tigers pounce early, hold off late rally in win over No. 16 Alabama” on social media.