AUBURN, Ala. - It was a tale of two games during No. 19 Auburn softball's doubleheader slate to open the Jane B. Moore Memorial tournament as the Tigers used their power to run rule Bowling Green, 9-1, before junior Maddie Penta shut down South Alabama 3-0 to sweep Friday's contests.
The Tigers thus improved to 18-1 and stretched their winning streak to 16 games.
"We had some strong at-bats through both games," said head coach Mickey Dean. "I think we had five hard-hit line drives in each. If you can keep putting quality at-bats together, then the pitcher is going to make a mistake and that's when you hit it over the fence, and I think that's what we did tonight."
Auburn took advantage of five Bowling Green errors as the Tiger took down the Falcons 9-1 in five innings. Annabelle Widra (5-0) went the distance for her third complete game. Over five innings, Widra scattered seven hits and a walk, allowing just one run to score. The right-hander struck out eight and improved to 5-0 in the circle.
Bowling Green broke up Auburn's consecutive shutout streak after six games as the Falcons drove in a run in the third with a double from Sophie Weber.
Nelia Peralta manufactured the first run of the game all by herself. Leading off the inning with a walk, Peralta used a wild pitch, stolen base and errant throw to the bag to come around to score. Ellis then went deep to left center field with a solo home run.
Errors plagued the Falcons in home half of the third inning as Auburn plated three unearned runs. Garcia delivered a line drive double to right center in the inning as the Tigers pushed their lead to 5-1.
The Falcons defense got themselves in trouble again in the bottom of the fourth as an error, Aubrie Lisenby double and walk loaded the bases. A second error of the fourth inning plated the first run of the frame. Jessie Blaine picked up her second RBI of the game, driving in a run with a ground ball to third. Ellis put Auburn in run-rule territory, driving in two runs on a sacrifice fly to right field.
Penta struck out 11 in her second complete-game shutout of the season, scattering three hits to earn her 10th win of the season. Penta and the Tiger defense stranded three Jaguars in scoring position to preserve the shutout.
"I've been working on improving my mechanics over the past few games, so it felt good today," said Penta. "They were a great team, so my mindset was to attack batters and then make good out pitches. I used my changeup and rise a lot today, but I also really trusted my defense. They were always there to back me up. It was a good overall team win."
KK McCrary led Auburn at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double, home run and two RBI. Lindsey Garcia also added two RBI, closing the doubleheader with 2-for-4 day. Bri Ellis drove in a team-leading three RBI with help from her sixth home run of the season.
"I was just trying to stay calm," said McCrary. "My hitting coaches have been working with me on relaxing in the box and trusting my training, so that's what I was trying to do. All of us know that we can pass the bat to each other. If one of us doesn't get the job done, we know the next one will."
After a lengthy rain delay pushed back the start to Friday's night cap, Auburn jumped out to a 1-0 lead over South Alabama in the second inning as McCrary led off with a solo home run.
The Tigers held their one-run lead until the fifth inning. Makayla Packer set the table with a triple to center. Carlee McCondichie came up clutch with a two-out single up the middle to put Auburn up 2-0. Garcia added much needed insurance, leading off the sixth with a solo home run.
Auburn returns to Jane B. Moore Field on Saturday for a doubleheader slate against South Alabama and Tennessee Tech. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. ET.