AUBURN, ALABAMA. (EETV) - Auburn Softball handled business in the first game of the Clemson regional defeating Louisiana 4-3 in a game in which Bri Ellis hit not one but two homers.
“We had a really good performance in the circle with how hot it was today,” said head coach Mickey Dean. “[Maddie] Penta labored a lot, but she battled. Bri [Ellis], of course, with her at-bats, was ridiculous.”
Ellis had a record-setting game for the Tigers, the freshman became the first Auburn player in program history to hit multiple home runs in an NCAA Regional. Ellis also set the program record for home runs by a freshman. She is tied for second in single-season home runs by an Auburn Tiger
“I am so glad it finally happened,” Ellis said. “Glad to get that off my back and glad to be hitting home runs again. I found a fault in my swing during our time off. I’ve just been working on it. I think I finally have figured it out.”
Maddie Penta got the start on the mound for the Tigers and pitched for the entire game. The sophomore earned her 24th win of the season to move to fourth-most wins in a single season by a Tiger. She struck out five bringing her career total to 368, which is good for fifth in Auburn program history.
The game was a back and forth battle, with Lousiana getting on the board early, scoring a sac fly in the top of the first inning to go up 1-0 on the Tigers.
Ellis gave the Tigers their first lead of the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the first. Carlee McCondichie scored from first following a single to left.
The Ragin’ Cajuns responded in the second hitting a pair of doubles to tie the game at 2-2.
The Tigers broke the tie in the bottom of the third when McCondichie reached first on a bunt to third before stealing second to move into scoring position. Freshman Nelia Peralta singled to left-center to drive in the go-ahead run.
The Cajuns would not go away quietly as they tied the game up again in the fifth inning. Following a wild pitch from Penta, Ari Quinones scored from third before Penta struck out the next two batters to end the inning and get out of the jam.
Ellis hit her second home run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, a solo shot to center field that would put Auburn up 4-3.
Penta would get the last three outs of the game and advance Auburn to the winner's bracket.
Auburn is back in action Saturday at noon when they take on the host of the regional, Clemson. The winner will advance to the championship game while the loser will head to the loser’s bracket and try to battle back in this double-elimination format.