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AUBURN, AL - MARCH 31 - Amelia Lech (34) during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the #4 Tennessee Volunteers at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn, AL on Sunday, March 31, 2024. Photo by Zach Bland/Auburn Tigers

Auburn softball drops game 1 to Tennessee

AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - The Auburn Tigers dropped the first game of their weekend series with the No. 4 Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 5-1. Though the Tigers managed to get on base throughout this contest they had trouble bringing runners in.

“We’re putting people on base,” Auburn Head Coach Mickey Dean said, “now we have to come through with some hits and force them to make some tough defensive plays where we end up scoring runs.”

The Lady Vols jumped out to an early 2-0 lead from Sophia Nugent’s home run that brought her and Taylor Pannell back to the plate in the second inning.

An infield error in the bottom of the second by the Lady Vols resulted in Amelia Lech getting on base and appeared to put the Tigers in a position to answer back. However, this momentum was quickly halted after a ground out was turned into a double play to bring the inning to a close.

The Tigers pieced together a great defensive stance in the top of the third to quickly return to the offensive end of play. In the bottom of the third, Auburn began to gather some much-needed momentum. Aubrie Lisenby kicked things off for the Tigers with a hit for a single. After Tennessee Pitcher, Karlyn Pickens hit Anna Wohlers with a pitch and walked KK McCrary, Auburn found itself with the bases loaded. Nelia Peralta took a hit from the pitch to get the Tigers in the scoring column to cut the Tennessee lead to 2-1. Unfortunately for the Tigers, this would be the only run of the inning as they left three runners on base to close the inning.

The Tigers willed themselves into striking distance after McCrary crushed a ball to right center field for a triple in the fifth inning. However, this is the closest that Auburn would get for the inning, struggling to get any more offense going.

The Lady Volunteers began to pull away in the sixth inning, with home runs from Rylie West and Nugent to make the score 4-1. Tennessee added one more run in the seventh inning to make the final score 5-1.

For the Lady Volunteers, Pickens pitched 3 innings allowing one hit and one run with two strikeouts. In relief for Pickens, Payton Gottshall earned the win pitching 4 innings giving up three hits and no runs with three strikeouts.

Maddie Penta pitched six innings, allowing four runs and six hits with five strikeouts. Annabelle Widra relieved Penta in the seventh inning allowing one hit and one run.

The Tigers series with the Lady Volunteers will continue on March 30 at 4 p.m. CST, The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.