Tigers Go 4–1 in Busy Softball Weekend
Auburn's Tannon Snow (9) bats in the Plainsman Invitational on Friday, Feb. 16, 2019 (photo: auburntigers.com)
Auburn softball hosted UAB, Furman, Drake and Texas Tech in this past weekend’s Plainsman Invitational, a fan-favorite event. Fans were able to get a two-for-one on Saturday and Sunday as one ticket was good for both games. The schedule was moved around slightly as weather postponed Auburn’s second game on Friday with Furman, but not before Auburn run-ruled UAB in the first game of the weekend.
Home runs have been the single biggest concern of the last two Auburn teams regardless of whether it was under now-departed Clint Myers or second-year coach Mickey Dean. However, Auburn has crushed the long ball early this season and is fifth nationally with 18 and has three players in the NCAA’s Top 20. Casey McCrackin is tied for second with five dingers in just ten games. Tannon Snow and Alyssa Rivera have four apiece.
Rivera jumped on UAB in the first inning as she doubled home Tannon and Taylon Snow. It was one of five doubles on the day, which was a welcome sign for some fans that had begun to wonder if the Tigers could get it done any way other than the long ball.
Auburn’s offense exploded in the fourth inning for six runs, and the Tigers didn’t have to hit in the fifth. Makayla Martin was phenomenal, once again, with seven strikeouts and just one hit on the afternoon, holding the Blazers scoreless.
On Saturday, Drake put up a fantastic fight against Auburn, yet …
lost the battle 2–0. The game was scoreless into the fifth inning when Auburn picked up a run on a Taylon Snow grounder that scored pinch runner Bree Fornis. Her speed was the difference when Drake’s second baseman Kennedy Franks decided to go to first with runners on first and second with one out instead of holding the speedy Fornis at third. Tannon Snow added an insurance homer in the sixth on a 1–1 count to seal the deal. Auburn had just two hits and three walks, which paled in comparison to the twelve K’s that Nicole Newman piled up. Martin’s day wasn’t have quite that dominant, but she held Drake scoreless while scattering five hits. And she had eight punch-outs on the outing.
Auburn had to play Texas Tech after a very short break, and the Tigers dropped their third game of the season 4–5 to the Red Raiders. Kendall Veach went yard on a two-run shot to put Auburn up 2–0. The lead didn’t last an inning as a solo shot from Zoe Jones and a Jessia Hartwell double plated two more for the Red Raiders. Hartwell drove in the deciding run in the fifth.
A wild pitch scored Taylon Snow to tie the game, but Trenity Edwards quickly answered with another solo shot. Another throwing error allowed Carmyn Greenwood to score the Tiger’s final run, and Auburn had a chance to win it. Morgan Podany represented the tying run on third and two of Auburn’s best hitters in Taylon Snow and Casey McCrackin were due up, but Podany was unable to score when Snow struck out, and McCrackin hit a grounder to second to end the game. Auburn’s bats weren’t bad against Tech with seven hits, four walks, and only four K’s. They just couldn’t string them together for runs.
Ashley Swindle was unable to do anything against the Red Raiders. She had no strikeouts and two walks and took the loss in her four-inning appearance, giving up four hits and surrendering four runs. Ashley now owns two of Auburn’s three losses and has yet to pitch for more than inning without giving up at least three runs in an outing.
Chardonnay Harris gave up a run in relief before Martin came in to shut down Tech.
Auburn had an offensive explosion on Sunday against UAB and Furman out scoring them 26–4. There were no ill effects from the short turn-around as the Tigers began play at 11:00 AM and started their second game of the day at 2:30. Surprisingly, it took three innings for the Auburn bats to come alive. McCrackin and Tannon Snow had back-to-back homers to open the flood gates as the Tigers scored eight runs in the third and never looked back withseven more. Transfer pitcher Lexi Handley allowed just one run on three hits with four K’s in four innings before Swindle mopped up in the last inning.
UAB took a 2–0 lead in the first inning with an unearned run before former Auburn Tiger Jenna Olzewski singled home the second run. She had two hits on the day, including a come-backer at Makayla Martin.
After a scoreless first inning for the Tigers, Martin shut down the Blazers until the fifth when the game was well out of reach. Auburn’s bats got hot in the second inning when the Tigers batted around and scored seven runs. The outburst included another Alyssa Rivera homer and scoring singles by the Snow sisters. Martin earned the win with Swindle making a short appearance in the last inning before the game ended 11–3.
The Tigers are now 7–3 and will host the Tiger Invitational with Villanova, North Dakota State, Troy, and Eastern Illinois coming to Jane B. Moore Field. Weather permitting, the Tigers will play doubleheaders each day from Friday to Sunday, starting with Villanova Friday afternoon at 2:00 PM. Auburn’s first four games will be on the WatchESPN App.
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