No. 16 Auburn (41-17) did not let up on its recent dominance in the first game of the Clemson Reginal. The Tigers were an offensive powerhouse, scoring 12 runs in just five innings to advance past Cal State Fullerton (33-20) by a score of 12-2.
"We weren't looking forward," Auburn head coach Mickey Dean said. "We weren't looking backward. We were focused on today's game, and we stayed there the entire five innings. We didn't carry any bricks. If we made a mistake, we just moved forward. That's what it is all about. It's about your teammate having your back, trusting in your teammates, and believing in your teammates. That's when you can go out on the field and play free and easy."
It was an all-around effort from everyone on the Tigers squad in the offensive showing. Makayla Packer and Lindsey Garcia both went 2-for-2 and two RBI. KK McCrary also added to the scoresheet, going 2-for-3 while posting two RBI.
"We just stuck to our plan," McCrary said. "We talked about the changeup. We attacked that early in the count. I just approach the plate when I'm facing two outs like I have nothing to lose. We know we belong here. We're trying to take a few games."
Bri Ellis stole the show with a grand slam, sending four runs in to tie the program record for RBI in a NCAA Reginal game. Despite that being the only hit of the sophomore’s day, Ellis continued to work the plate throughout, drawing a pair of walks and a hit by pitch in route to scoring two runs.
"I'm just taking it pitch by pitch," Ellis said. "It's so easy to get caught up in everything that is happening outside of our control. I'm just proud of us for coming out everyday and just being who we are. We're being the players we know we can be."
The pairing of Maddie Penta and Shelby Lowe would prove to be enough for Auburn to walk away with the victory. Penta pitched four innings, striking out three batters. Lowe would come in relief, adding another strikeout and a walk in one inning of work.
Abby Smith collected a pair of stolen bases to bring the season total to 18 for the sophomore, which is good for a tie with Alyssa Rivera (2019) for seventh most in a season. The outfielder would go on to score on one of Packer’s two hits.
Auburn will advance to the next round of the Clemson Reginal and face off against #10 Clemson. The matchup is set to broadcast on ESPN with first pitch set for 12 p.m. CT.