AUBURN, Ala. - With a two-out single through the left side, junior Denver Bryant walked off No. 19 Auburn softball's walk-off victory over Bowling Green to conclude the final day of competition at the Jane B. Moore Memorial.
"I thought our approach today was way better than the entire weekend," said head coach Mickey Dean. "We got back to ourselves. We had a conversation this morning about being patient at this plate this morning, and it was nice to see those adjustments being made."
Walking off the win in the fifth inning, the Tigers earned the 11th run-rule victory of the 2023 season. Auburn now stands at 20-2 with one final tune-up before the beginning of Southeastern Conference play.
"I didn't see too many pitches," Bryant said. "I had an earlier at bat, so I was just trying to adjust. I was thinking about my teammates. I wanted to get them out of here early today."
Maddie Penta and Shelby Lowe retired 13 consecutive batters before the Falcons broke up the perfect game bid in the fifth with a walk followed by a single. Those would be the only base runners the junior duo would face.
Earning the start, Penta improved to 11-0. Perfect through her three frames of work, Penta struck out six of the nine batters she faced. With 57 innings under her belt, Penta has still not given up an earned run this season. Lowe tossed two innings of relief, giving up a single and a walk both in the fifth inning. She added a pair of strikeouts.
The Tigers were patient at the plate drawing six walks compared to one strikeout. Bri Ellis slugged her seventh home run of the season and ended the game with three RBI. Despite not recording an official at bat, Jessie Blaine recorded two RBI and scored a run. Blaine reached in all three of plate appearances.
Ellis put the Tigers up early with a two-run blast to right center in the first inning. Just 22 games into her sophomore season, Ellis has knocked 27 career home runs and is just four away from overtaking 10th place in program history.
"Today, we were working on having selfless at bats, not selfish at bats," Ellis said. "Yesterday, I was trying to do too much with one at bat. Today, I was just focusing on slowing it down and not thinking as much. I was just trying to get on base for my team, and it worked out."
The Tigers plated three runs in the bottom of the second without a hit as a pair of bases-loaded walks followed by a hit by pitch cushioned Auburn's lead. Auburn added two in the fourth as Blaine squeezed home a run on a suicide play at the plate. Axe Milanowski traded a grounder to third for a run, to pick up an RBI.
With Abbey Smith standing at third, Bryant delivered the walk-off hit in the fifth.
In the final contest before opening conference play, the Tigers trek to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Wednesday. First pitch on the ACC Network is set for 2 p.m. ET.