No. 23 Tigers Split Opening-Day Doubleheader in Clearwater
SOURCE: AUBURN ATHLETICS
After stumbling to Baylor, 8-0, in five innings to open the 2020 NFCA Leadoff Classic, No. 23 Auburn softball (1-1) bounced back with a seven-inning rally to top Notre Dame, 4-1, to split action at Eddie C. Moore Field.
The Tigers traded two scoreless innings with Baylor (1-0), but the Lady Bears pushed five runs across in the third innings en route to a run-rule victory in Friday’s opening contest.
Redshirt junior Lexie Handley tossed five scoreless innings before the Fighting Irish (0-2) squeaked a run across late, but the Tigers mounted a seventh-inning rally to secure a 4-1 win.
“It was a quality win, which is big,” head coach Mickey Dean said. “We did a lot of things right, but there are still things we need to work on. We may not be our best in the beginning, but we want to be our best at the end of the season.”
Senior Tannon Snow turned in a story performance over Friday’s doubleheader with two hits, including a double. Snow drew two walks and recorded an RBI. Junior Makenna Dowell also turned in a multi-hit performance Friday, going 2-for-5 over both contests.
Senior Ashlee Swindle earned the decision in the circle in both contests, starting the year at 1-1. The right-handed tossed 4.1 inning, giving up five runs off six hits and four walks. Handley was dominate in her 6.2 innings of work on Friday, giving up two runs. She recorded Auburn’s only strikeouts with three.
It was a quiet two innings to open the season as both pitchers had command early with Snow’s first-inning, two-out double the loudest hit of the opening frames. The Lady Bears powered ahead in the third behind five hits, including an RBI double from Goose McGlaun, and two walks to take a 5-0 advantage. Baylor tacked on a run in the fourth with an RBI single up the middle from Taylor Ellis. Back-to-back, bases-loaded walks in the fifth secure the win for Baylor. Gia Radoni and Madison Lindsey kept Auburn’s offense quiet, allowing just two hits.
NOTRE DAME RECAP
The Tigers wasted no time as junior Tyler King led off with contest with a single to right and moved herself into scoring position with a stolen base. Junior Abby Tissier drove in the first run of the 2020 season with a single to left field to give the Tigers an early lead.
Handley would keep the Fighting Irish off-balanced at the plate, allowing just one hit through the first five innings. Notre Dame recorded its second hit of the game with a single to right to lead off the sixth. A passed ball and wild pitch quickly moved the runner to third before a bunt single allowed the tying run to score.
Notre Dame loaded up the bases with a help of a hit by pitch, but a 4-3 double play limited the damage.
Senior Justus Perry sparked the comeback for the Tigers with a leadoff walk in the seventh. Freshman Maia Engelkes took advantage of a Notre Dame error in a pinch-hit appearance to move Perry into scoring position. A second Notre Dame error of the inning brought Perry home to put the Tigers back in front. Again sloppy infield play by the Fighting Irish allowed an Auburn run to score as senior Brittany Maresette came home on a throw after a foul bunt got away from the catcher.
Snow delivered the finishing blow with an RBI single to first base to give Auburn a 4-1 lead.
Swindle forced two groundouts and fly out to left to sit the Irish down in order for Auburn’s first win of the season.
- Eight players made their Auburn debuts over Friday’s doubleheader: Tyler King, Madison Keopke, Phoebe Florian, Jadia Jones, Jaylin Calvert, Samantha Yarbrough, Carlee McCondichie and Maia Engelkes.
- Three Tigers earned their first starts in Auburn uniforms: outfielder Tyler King, infielder Madison Keopke and catcher Abby Tissier.
- Auburn cut the all-time series against Notre Dame to 5-4 in favor of the Fighting Irish. The win was Auburn’s third win in the last four meetings against the Fighting Irish.
- Auburn’s pitching staff has struck out at least one batter for a span of 186 consecutive games, including all 120 games in the Mickey Dean era.
- Abby Tissier recorded her first RBI since Feb. 2, 2018, vs. Maryland.
No. 23 Auburn returns to Eddie C. Moore Field on Saturday for a doubleheader slate. The Tigers will face Liberty at 9 a.m. CT before taking on Texas State at 11:30 a.m. CT. Both games will be streamed via the NFCA’s YouTube page.