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Maddie Penta (9) during the game between the South Alabama Jaguars and the  #19 Auburn Tigers at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, AL on Friday, Mar 3, 2023.
Grayson Belanger/Auburn Tigers
Maddie Penta (9) during the game between the South Alabama Jaguars and the #19 Auburn Tigers at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, AL on Friday, Mar 3, 2023. Grayson Belanger/Auburn Tigers

No. 19 Auburn Softball opens up Jane B. Moore Memorial Tournament with Two Wins

The No. 19 ranked Auburn softball team extended their winning streak to 16 at the Jane B. Moore Memorial Tournament, defeating Bowling Green State 9-1 and the South Alabama Jaguars 3-0.

In game one, the Tigers started the scoring early when Nelia Peralta stole third and advanced home on a throwing error by the Falcons. Two pitches later, Bri Ellis sent her sixth “Bri-Bomb” out to left-center field to put Auburn up by two in the first.

In the bottom of the fourth, Auburn put up four runs to extend their lead to eight. Denver Bryant started it off reaching on an error, followed by Aubrie Lisenby sending one off the centerfield wall for a double. Bryant later scored off an error and Lisenby scored off a groundout. Bri Ellis capped off the inning with a sacrifice fly plating Neila Peralta and Carlee McCondichie for the final two runs.

“You got to get on base and move the baserunners. If you’re moving them then you’re moving people into an opportunity to score,” said head coach Mickey Dean.

Annabella Widra got the start for the Tigers and went the distance allowing in one run on seven hits and eight strikeouts. Widra notched her fifth win of the season.

Scarlett Anderson did the majority of the work on the mound for the Falcons throwing three innings. Bowling Green’s starting pitcher, Hannah Davies, exited the game in the bottom of the second after a line drive struck her in the knee.

Junior right fielder Makailah Dees had her way against Widra, going three for three at the plate. Sophie Weber brought Dees around for the Falcons lone run on an RBI double to right field in the top of the third. Despite the score, the Falcons out hit the Tigers seven to five.

In game two, it was the battle of each team's aces. Maddie Penta was in the circle for Auburn and Jenna Hardy was on the rubber for South Alabama. Penta came into the game without allowing an earned run all season. Hardy came in with an ERA of 1.61.

“You want to win those games. Now you know you can,” said Dean after the tight win. “When you're out there playing defense, that’s a team effort that lets you know that everybody is into it. The pitching and defense is where you win championships.” 

Penta finished the game throwing all seven innings allowing no runs on three hits with eleven strikeouts. “Everything today was feeling a lot better than it has previous weekend,” Penta said. 

“I’ve been working on my mechanics at practice and bullpens and I definitely feel like myself using my legs more and it clearly shows.” Penta is up to 90 strikeouts on the year

The scoring for Auburn started in the bottom of the second after KK McCrary launched her first home run of the year to left field to put the Tigers up 1-0. “I didn't think it was going out at first, I thought it was just going to go straight up in the air,” McCrary said.

“Me and my hitting coaches have been talking about transferring over to the game cause I hit a lot in practice, but it hasn’t been happening in the game. It felt like a weight off my shoulders when it finally happened.”

Carlee McCondichie came up big in the bottom half of the fifth with an RBI single up the middle, plating Makayla Packer after her standup triple.The Tigers finished up their scoring on a Lindsey Garcia leadoff solo-home run in the bottom half of the sixth. It was Garcia’s fourth homerun on the campaign.

Hardy ended the game giving up three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Hardy’s ERA this season rises to just 1.80, and her record falls to .500 with four wins and four losses.

The Tigers are back in action again tomorrow against South Alabama, followed up by a game against Tennessee Tech.

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