The Auburn Tigers look to keep rolling this Wednesday, when they travel to Birmingham to take on the Samford Bulldogs.
Both teams are coming off big conference sweeps this past weekend, as the Tigers swept Missouri and the Bulldogs swept Mercer. Auburn and Samford haven't squared off yet this season, but both teams have played the University of Georgia and the UAB Blazers.
Auburn won one and dropped two in their series against Georgia, and cruised past UAB in the Tiger Invitational. Samford lost their two games against Georgia, as well as losing a heartbreaker to UAB.
As the Tigers get prepared to travel for this mid-week showdown, let's dive into the Samford Bulldogs roster.
Samford is currently holding a 14-18 record, but are on a current three-game win streak. The Bulldogs are happy to be hosting the Tigers rather than traveling to Auburn, as their home record sits at 8-5 and their away record is 2-7.
The Bulldog’s strong pitching staff is headlined by reigning Southern Conference player of the week, Mckenzie Newcomb. Although her win-loss record is 7-6, Newcomb has a 1.57 ERA through 102.1 innings pitched this season. In the series against Mercer, Newcomb pitched a total of nine and two-thirds innings, racking up eight strikeouts while allowing just one earned run.
Freshman pitcher Lainey Baker, has made her presence known on the circle for this Bulldogs team. Baker comes in with a 2.88 ERA and 31 strikeouts on the year, through her 14 games she has appeared in.
At the plate, the Bulldogs hit for a .258 average and have driven in a total of 102 runs. They have 18 total home runs as a team, seven of those coming off the bat of sophomore Grier Bruce. Bruce also leads the team in RBIs with 22.
The best bat in this lineup is sophomore catcher, Logan Champion. Champion is hitting .364 and has six home runs on the year, along with 17 RBIs. To add to the impressive numbers, Champion also has a 1.094 OPS and has scored 20 times.
Another impressive sophomore for the Bulldogs is Sarah Squillace. Squallice is hitting at a .333 mark and has scored 13 times. She also leads the team in triples with two and has 31 hits on the campaign.
Auburn will have to quiet down these three sophomore bats if they want to take a victory in Birmingham, but if Samford wants a win, they will have to quiet down some of Auburns.
Senior Carlee McCondichie comes into the game hitting at a stellar .385 average, and has started and played in all 34 games for the Tigers. McCondichie leads the teams in hits with 35 on the season.
Sophomore Nelia Peralta was the hero in game two for the Tigers this past weekend, plating the winning run off a fielder's choice to walk it off. Peralta is hitting at a .365 mark on the year and has scored a team-high 26 times.
Denver Bryant also had a walk-off this past weekend in game three against Missouri, driving a ball down the right field line to bring in Abbey Smith. Bryant is hitting .311 this season and has a slugging percentage at .489.
In the Circle, Maddie Penta has been in a league of her own. This past weekend, Penta threw two complete games, combining for 25 strikeouts with 17 of those coming from one game. All weekend, Penta only allowed one run on three hits.
Penta has 158 total strikeouts on the year in 100.1 innings of work. She has only allowed 18 walks and opposing hitters are hitting a poor .157 against her. Penta was named the SEC pitcher of the week for the second time this season.
It should be a fun night of softball with two good arms set to be in the circle, in Birmingham. First pitch is set for 6 P.M. CT.