AUBURN, Ala. - Makayla Martin and Chardonnay Harris combined to strike out 22 batters as No. 19 Auburn (21-4) beat Louisville, 6-2, and Michigan State, 3-2, in the third day of the War Eagle Challenge.
Martin (10-2) set a career high with 11 strikeouts against the Cardinals en route to earning her 60th career win, which ties her with Holly Currie (2004-07) and Kristen Keyes (2002-04) for third most in program history. Harris' 11 strikeouts against the Spartans were the second most by the left-hander after she struck out a career-high 14 batters against Eastern Illinois on Feb. 23.
"I think, most importantly, these wins give our team confidence no matter who they face in the circle," said Auburn head coach Mickey Dean. "Sometimes, when you see a certain pitcher in a circle, you get nervous; we don't have that."
Louisville (13-7) struck first when Caitlin Ferguson drove home Sidney Melton with a two-out single in the top of the first inning. But from there, Martin kept the Cardinals off balance until they managed to plate a second run with another two-out single in the top of the sixth.
Martin recorded at least one strikeout in every inning except the fourth. This included a stretch of five of seven batters faced from the first to the third in addition to striking out the side in the fifth.
"My drop(ball) was working pretty well," Martin said. "That's pretty much all I was throwing. They were just over it the whole time or hitting it to my infield and they did a great job behind me."
Auburn answered the Cardinals in the bottom of the first when Casey McCrackin scored from third base on a two-out wild pitch. The Tigers took the lead the following inning when Bree Fornis tripled to right field, then hurried home on a Louisville error. A single run in the fifth extended the lead to 4-1 before McCrackin's two-run home run in the sixth capped a three-run inning for Auburn.
Against Michigan State (7-15), Kendall Veach put Auburn on the scoreboard with a solo home run to start the bottom of the second, before Morgan Podany plated Aspyn Godwin with a two-out single through the right side to make it 2-0.
A two-out single in the third gave the Spartans their first run of the game before Kaitlyn Eveland tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth. Veach answered in the bottom half with her second home run of the game, marking the second time this season the senior catcher has hit two home runs in a game.
From there, Harris allowed a leadoff walk to start the fifth, but went on to retire the next nine batters to end the game.
"I think my curveball was working best for me tonight," Harris said. "I had a couple good change-ups and a couple good riseballs, but the curveball really got me through the night."