AU Softball Season Ends at NCAA Region Final But – Tigers “Will Be Back”
McKenzie Kilpatrick hit a grand slam in the NCAA Regional Championship game in Minneapolis. (photo:Zach Bland,AU media)
“We were pumped. We wanted to keep going. We wanted to keep going in the post season, but fell a little short.” Auburn Centerfielder Morgan Estell said after the Tigers lost a close NCAA Region Championship game tonight. The Softball Team had fought their way back from the losers bracket only to lose a close one to the host team.
In the first game junior pinch hitter Jenna Abbott hit a walk off extra inning home run to beat the Gophers 4-3 and the Tigers seemed to be on their way to the same dramatic outcome in game two when pinch hitter McKenzie Kilpatrick hit a grand slam in the third inning to give Auburn a 6-3 lead. However, Minnesota came back in the sixth to retake the lead 8-6 and that’s how the game ended.
Auburn finished the year with a 42-19-1 record, the second best record in program history. The season was a validation of the decision that AD Jay Jacobs made last year to put the program in the hands of Clint Meyers, one of the winningest coaches in college softball.
Coach Meyers breathed new life into a program that just a year ago failed to make the SEC Tournament. To be sure, it was a great turn around year with an RPI of 15 to go along with the 42 W’s. Meyers said he was proud of his team, “There is no reason, none whatsoever, that any of those ladies should have their heads down.”
He said his Tigers made a statement this year that they will be a force to be reckoned with in college softball. “We’re sorry we have to go home,” Meyers said. “But very proud of what they did,”
“We will be back.”