Softball Ends Losing Streak Against Mizzou, Advances to SEC Quarter Finals
Sophomore Chardonnay Harris went the distance against Missouri striking out six while allowing just five hits in seven innings in the opening round of the SEC Tournament. (photo;Auburn media file)
One could say that streaks are meant to be broken. One could say that if you’ve lost nine straight, losing one more shouldn’t be a surprise. One thing is for sure: Auburn was playing its worst softball in six years heading into the SEC tournament, and typically that is disastrous.
It took five hours more than expected to get Auburn’s first game underway, thanks to weather that would not cooperate. Storms and even tornado warnings pushed games later and later. The game that was supposed to tee off at 3:30 in the afternoon didn’t start until 8:30. Did it benefit either team?
It’s hard to disagree that Auburn was ready, especially the pitching. Typically, this would be surprising since delays can be death for pitchers who go through ritualistic warm-ups. Is it possible that coach Mickey Dean even made a pitching change? Certainly. Ashlee Swindle has been Auburn’s go-to lady in game one of almost every single series this season. Last night, however, Chardonnay Harris got the start, and she was beyond fantastic. But then again, she has been fantastic in her limited starts all season.
Harris went the distance against Missouri in Auburn’s 3–0 win, improving to 10–5 while allowing just five hits in seven innings. She had six strikeouts while giving out four bases on balls. Usually, a game like that would cause talk, but it was Auburn’s inspired defense that took the spotlight.
Shortstop Taylon Snow played out of her mind all night. She made three diving catches, including one behind third base and one up the middle, that were critical. However, it was her double play with one out and two runners on that saved the day. A sharply hit ball up the middle looked like it would drop short and take a nasty, unplayable bounce, but Snow pounced on the ball as it began to drop and snapped a throw to second to double up the runner.
In addition, Morgan Podany had quite the day with a clutch catch in centerfield that looked like it would be over her head for extra bases. It was a beautiful backhand catch on the run.
She wasn’t done, either. Despite hitting just .137, the lowest average among every day starters, Podany caught a pitch in the fifth inning and went yard for just the second time this year. The homer added a cushion the the Tigers’ 2–0 lead.
Kendall Veach‘s single on a hit-and-run with Casey McCrackin on second base won the game for the Tigers. McCrackin played the sharply hit grounder up the middle perfectly, pausing in front of the shortstop just long enough for the ball to get through
Auburn desperately needs to advance, perhaps make it to the SEC Tournament finals and, hopefully, host a regional. The Tigers take on Tennessee today at 5:30 in the quarterfinals, weather permitting. Fans can catch the game on WatchESPN.
Auburn stole a series in Knoxville before going ice-cold down the SEC stretch. This would be the perfect time for the Tigers to get red hot at the plate.
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