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Softball Review: The Plainsman Invitational

Makayla Martin struck out a career-high 10 in Saturday night's win over Creighton (Photo: Auburn Athletics/Dakota Sumpter)

Auburn Softball continued the success they found in Puerto Vallarta by picking up six wins to open their home portion of the schedule this weekend, to move to 9-1 on the season. Thursday- Auburn 4 SIU-Edwardsville 3 (8 inn.) Auburn played their first game in the United State on Thursday against SIU-Edwardsville for an early showing before the Tigers opened the Plainsman Invitational on Friday. Junior Carlee Wallace opened the game by knocking a 2-run jack over the fence to give Auburn a 2-run lead before the Cougars recorded an out. After SIUE cut the lead in half, Kendall Veach nailed a no-doubter over the left field wall to extend the lead to 3-1 in the 3rd. The Cougars bounced back by tying the game at 3 in the 6th starting with a single by Taylor Eby that resulted in a run scored via the error. Eby would score one at-bat later when Allison Smiley hit an RBI single. Kaylee Carlson entered the game in the 7th inning and held the Cougars scoreless to move the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the 8th, freshman Carmyn Greenwood stepped up to the plate with two on and delivered a RBI single that scored Haley Fagan from second to win the game, 4-3. Key Batter- Carlee Wallace (1-4, HR, 2 RBI) Key Pitcher- Kaylee Carlson (Win, 2 IP, K) Notes- Emily Spain got her first start of the season at second base in place of the two starters at the position during the Puerto Vallarta Challenge, KK Crocker and Casey McCrackin. The pair were unavailable for the weekend due to injury (Crocker), and illness (McCrackin). Friday- Auburn 8 Creighton 0 (5 innings) Auburn got on the board first in the third inning, when Haley Fagan sent a three-run bomb to the video board in left field. Later in the inning, again in another two-on situation, a fielding error allowed Courtney Shea to reach base and sent Veach across the plate. Auburn scored four more in the fifth inning to put the eight-run run rule into effect. Auburn 8 SIU-Edwardsville 1 Like in game one, Auburn’s big inning came in the third against SIU-Edwardsville. The two and three hitters in the Tiger lineup provided the fireworks, starting with Kasey Cooper. Cooper picked up a key hit by doubling to right center that scored two. Would score on the next at-bat when Haley Fagan hit a double to left field to drive in her 4th run of the day to extend the lead to 3-0. Fagan scored later in the inning thanks to a Shea single. The excitement continued in the sixth inning with two Tiger home runs off the bats of Veach and Shea. Auburn capped scoring in the seventh inning with a RBI double from Wallace to extend the score to 8-1. Key Batter- Haley Fagan (3-7, 4 RBI) Key Pitcher- Kaylee Carlson (10 IP, 3H, 8K) Notes- Freshman Alyssa Rivera got her first start of her career in game one against Creighton. She went 0-2 in her debut. Ashlee Swindell also saw the circle for the first time in her career, tossing two innings over both games. Saturday- Auburn 5 Evansville 3 Carlson was the main pitcher in Friday’s action, the torched would be passed to Makayla Martin for Saturday’s action against Evansville and Creighton. Auburn won the game by taking advantage of Evansville’s mistakes instead of using their bats. Auburn scored five runs to only two hits from Shea and Fagan. Wallace scored a run with a fielder’s choice in the 2nd inning, but the remaining four runs were scored in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, Evansville pitcher Emily Lockhart was called for two illegal pitches in a row, allowing baserunners Madi Gipson and Emily Spain to score. The other two runs scored on a fielder’s choice by Cooper, and a fielding error on a Spain bunt. Martin got the start and pitched three innings before Ashlee Swindell entered the game. The freshman tossed 3.2 innings allowing 5 hits and 3 runs before Martin re-entered the game to record the final out. Auburn 9 Creighton 0 (5 inn.) Martin’s second outing of the night was one for the history books. Martin pitched five complete innings in Auburn’s 9-0 win over Creighton, striking out a career-best 10. The light’s out performance included one hit and zero walks. Fagan, Rivera, Spain, and Draper each picked up hits in the game, with Wallace and Cooper picking up multiple RBI each. Cooper delivered another clutch double that sent three RBI across, while Wallace picked up two on a sacrifice fly and a single. Key Batter- Kasey Cooper (1-6, 4 RBI) Key Pitcher- Makayla Martin (8.1 IP, 4 H, 13K) Notes- Spain picked up her first hit of the season during the game against Creighton, a single to right field that scored a run. Martin set a career-high for strikeouts with 10. Sunday- Auburn 10 Mercer 1 (5 inn.) Auburn closed out the Plainsman Invitational with an all-around performance against the Mercer Bears on what was a beautiful, sunny day at Jane B. Moore Field. Carlson returned to the circle for another shutdown performance. After allowing a run in the first inning, Carlson allowed two hits and struck out two en route to a win. Fagan continued her hot performance in the Plainsman Invitational with a 2-4 performance. Wallace went 2-2 with 2 RBI, Cooper continued her success with runners in scoring position by recording two RBI with a 2nd inning single, advancing to 2nd on the throw. Even freshman Justus Perry got in on the action. Perry singled to center field and scored two runs for her first hit and RBI of her career at Auburn. The win moved Auburn to 9-1 on the season, 6-0 at the Plainsman Invitational. On the weekend: Key Batter- Haley Fagan- (8 H, 4 RBI) Key Pitcher- Kaylee Carlson (18 IP, 7 H, 9 K) Auburn moves on to the Tiger Invitational next weekend, where UMass-Lowell, North Dakota, Yale and James Madison await them.

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