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Elaina Eichorn/AU Athletics
Elaina Eichorn/AU Athletics

Auburn gets season off to solid start at NFCA Leadoff Classic

The No. 21 Auburn Tigers (4-1) got their season started down in Clearwater, Florida this weekend. 

The Tigers beat St. John's 6-0 and Fordham 9-0 on Friday, fell 8-7 to Pitt and beat Indiana 9-0 on Saturday, and closed out the weekend with a 10-0 win over Illinois.

Auburn's frist game of the weekend was a 6-0 win over the St. John's Red Storm. Annabelle Wildra got the first start of the season for the Tigers and threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts and only gave up two hits. Hannah Mearns took the mound for the Red Storm and threw a complete game with six runs.

The Tigers scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in the 6-0 win.

Auburn kept their momentum going by beating the Fordham Rams 9-0. Maddie Penta got the start and went for five innings with 11 strikeouts and gave up three hits. Devon Miller got the start for Fordham and gave up nine runs and walked 10 batters.

Auburn took a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning and scored four more runs to secure the 9-0 lead.

"I was very pleased to see our offense jump out to early scoring," said Dean. "We had the opportunity to get several players out on the field. Our pitching staff was aggressive and worked ahead in counts. The strikeout numbers show how good that group can be when they get ahead of batters."

Auburn took an 8-7 loss to the Pitt Panthers to lead off Saturday's action. Auburn had three different pitchers, but Icess Tresvik got the start for the Tigers but only went for one inning. The Panthers also used three different pitchers, but Adriana Romano got the start.

Pitt rode a huge offensive wave in the second inning to victory, but Auburn staged a late comeback that fell just short.

Auburn bounced back against the Indiana Hoosiers, picking up a 9-0 win. Penta once again got the start and Shelby Lowe added an inning of relief. The Hoosiers also had three pitchers, but Heather Johnson got the start.

The Tigers took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning and added on five more to pick up the 9-0 win.

"I'm really proud of how we responded after our first game of the day," said Dean. "Our young team battled, and this will be a learning experience for them as well as our staff."

Auburn closed out the weekend with a 10-0 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini. Penta got the start and Lowe added one inning of relief. Lauren Wiles got the start for Illinois and Sydney Sickels added an inning of relief.

The Tigers rode a big second and third inning to victory to secure a 4-1 start to the season.

"I told the team that I didn't care what the score was and that I didn't care who won or loss," said Dean. "I just really liked our team today. I liked the way they were around each other and supported each other. We're a good team. We can be a great team. That's in our hands."

Auburn will be back in action next weekend when the Tigers host the Tiger invitational at Jane B. Moore Field.

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