Auburn, AL (EETV) – Auburn’s softball team traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to compete in the Triple Crown Tournament February 9-11. The Tigers opened the season receiving a No. 2 ranking, the highest ranking in school history. Auburn faced No.1 Oklahoma, No. 13 Washington, Nebraska, and BYU.
Auburn played Oklahoma February 9, and won 3-2. Makayla Martin started at pitcher and threw for 6.1 innings, allowing seven hits, 13 groundouts and two players to reach the bases. Auburn scored in the top of the first off a Courtney Shea hit. The next two runs came from two homers from Kendall Veach in the top of the third and seventh innings. Oklahoma scored its two runs in the bottom of the seventh. This brought in Kaylee Carlson as the relief pitcher. She struck out the final two batters to earn her third career save, moving Auburn to 1-0 to start the season.
Later that night, Auburn went up against Washington and fell 2-1 in 10 innings. Auburn’s offense was held to just four hits coming from Victoria Draper, Courtney Shea, Kendall Veach and Carlee Wallace. Kaylee Carlson started off on the mound, pitching for eight innings, allowing one run and throwing three strikeouts. Auburn scored first with Wallace. In the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers had runners on the corners, but could not bring them in to add to the lead. Washington tied up the game with a lead off hit and walk around the bases in the top of the seventh. The game went to extra innings after Auburn could not bring in a run again. Martin came in for the last two innings for relief. Despite an effort by Morgan Podany, Washington put a run up with a RBI single with two outs left. Auburn did not put a run up after that and ended up 1-1 to end the day.
The next day, Auburn faced Nebraska. Auburn had nine hits and capitalized on two errors from Nebraska. KK Crocker went 2-2 at the plate and scored in the 3-2 win against the Corn Huskers. Carlson pitched the whole game allowing nine hits, two earned runs and throwing a strikeout. All three of the runs for Auburn came in the fourth, making the score 3-1. The runs came from Kasey Cooper, Madi Gipson and Crocker. Nebraska had one hit in the sixth inning, but Auburn held out to not allow any more runs. After the game, Coach Clint Meyers called his pitchers “the best part of the trip” and gave them credit for the Tigers being 2-1 in the tournament.
On the final day of the tournament, Auburn competed against BYU for its last game. Martin got the start at the circle, pitching a shutout on what her coach described as a “dominant performance”. She had five strikeouts, five hits off her pitches. The first hit for the Cougars did not come until the fourth inning. Auburn had three hits coming from Cooper, Crocker and Wallace, with runs from Podnay, Madi Greenwood and Draper. Auburn closed the tournament 3-1 for the season with this 3-0 win.
Carlee Wallace, Kaylee Denise, Makayla Martin and Kendall Veach received All-Tournament Team Honors.
The Tigers head back to the States for 21 straight home games in Jane B. Moore Field, beginning with SIUE on Thursday, February 16 at 6 p.m. for the home opener.