Auburn splits opening day at Omni Hall of Fame Classic
OKLAHOMA CITY - In a pair of low-scoring contests, No. 19 Auburn softball (22-6) spilt its doubleheader with Weber State and Northwestern in the first day of action at the Omni Hall of Fame Classic at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
Powered behind a dominating relief performance from Shelby Lowe and a seventh-inning home run from Denver Bryant, Auburn opened the tournament with a 4-2 victory over Weber State (6-16). Auburn put the tying and winning runs on base in the seventh innings, but Northwestern (10-7) held on to take Friday's finale 1-2.
"We faced a great pitcher today, and we battled at the plate," said head coach Mickey Dean. "We need to continue to play cleaner softball. Our mental mistakes were the difference in today's game."
Bryant led the Tigers at the plate over Friday's doubleheader, going 3-for-6 with a home run. Aspyn Godwin totaled two hits and led the team with three RBI. Nelia Peralta reached base safely in both games of the doubleheader as the shortstop extended her reached base streak to 28 consecutive games, tied for the sixth longest streak in school history.
In her fifth double-digit strikeout effort of her junior season, Maddie Penta surpassed 500 career strikeouts to become just the fourth Tiger in program history to hit the milestone. She struck out a season high 12 batters in Friday's contest against Northwestern.
After a scoreless first, the Tigers loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a Weber State error. Godwin delivered the big blow, just missing a home run, but settling for a bases-clearing double off the wall in center. Weber State answered in the home half of the second, plating a pair of runs off three hits to cut the lead to 3-2.
The 3-2 score held until the seventh inning as Bryant slugged her first homer of the season with a solo line drive over the wall ln left center.
Lowe dazzled in relief for the Tigers as she kept Weber State scoreless through five with help of a season-high nine strikeouts. Lowe allowed just two hits and a walk to strand two base runners in scoring position to preserve the Tiger lead. Earning the victory, Lowe improved to 3-2 on the season.
Annabelle Widra tossed the first two innings for the Tigers. Weber State knocked four hits and scored two runs off the right-hander. Widra struck out three in the outing.
Friday's finale began with two scoreless frames before Northwestern struck in the top of the third, scoring the first run of the game on a passed ball. The Tigers answered in the bottom of the inning as Bryant led off with a single to left center. Peralta locked the game up with an RBI single through the left side.
Northwestern regained the lead in the fifth. After slugging a one-out triple, Auburn traded an out for a run on a ground ball to third. The run put the Wildcats up 1-2. Auburn put two on base in the bottom of the fifth but couldn't find the equalizing hit.
Godwin and Makayla Packer led off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles to put the tying and winning runs on base, but the Wildcats retired the next three Tiger batters to hang on for the win.
Penta went the distance and suffered the loss to fall to 11-2 on the year. Through seven innings, Penta scattered four hits and allow two runs with only one earned. Penta fanned 12 batters compared to just two walks.
Auburn continues action at the Omni Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday with another doubleheader slate. The Tigers have a rematch with Northwestern at 1:30 p.m. CT before facing No. 1 Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. CT. Streaming will be available for both contests with the Northwestern contest on USASoftball.com and the date with Sooners airing on ESPN+.