There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding this weekend's NCAA Regional in Auburn. The weather was a potential player in deciding who advances due to the NCAA's rules on Regionals and weather cancellations. Thankfully, the Monday finish wasn't needed as the Regional was able to finish up on time.
Auburn got things started Friday afternoon with an 11-0 run-rule thrashing of East Tennessee State. The score doesn't tell the full story of the game, though, as 10 of Auburn's runs came in one explosive inning. The Buccaneers didn't do too bad in the other innings. For Auburn, Makayla Martin pitched a great game for the win.
Saturday afternoon was a bit tougher for the Tigers as it really looked like there was potential for Auburn to suffer its first home Regional loss in the last few seasons. Cal was in control for much of regulation until Auburn was able to score a controversial run late to tie. The game went into extra innings before Auburn finally walked it off for the 4-3 win thanks to Alyssa Rivera's RBI single that scored Brittany Maresette - pinch running for the Iron Lady, Carlee Wallace. I'm dropping that nickname in here because she has taken so many hits at the plate and elsewhere and shakes it off like no one else.
Sunday saw a rematch with Cal after the Golden Bears knocked off Notre Dame in the Elimination Game that began Saturday night and then went into Sunday morning with the only real weather issue of the weekend. This game against the Golden Bears went much differently than the first as Auburn's bats got hot early and the Tigers were leading 7-0 by the end of the 2nd inning. Cal would eventually get 2 runs back over the course of the game, but Auburn came away with the big victory to seal the deal 8-2. Auburn's final run came on a very welcome COOPSHOT home run by Kasey Cooper. Hopefully, her performance in the last game and a half indicates her bat is awakening at just the right time.
With the Regional win, Auburn now awaits the winner of the Oklahoma Regional. The early thought was that the Sooners would cruise through their Regional and set up the rematch of last year's College World Series. The Sooners were shockingly dropped in Game 1 by North Dakota State, though, and had to fight their way back through the Loser's Bracket. They opened the first inning with a 4-0 lead in the Elimination Game against NDSU moments before publishing this, but they'll have to defeat Tulsa this afternoon and tomorrow to advance. They do have the advantage of not needing to play three games in one day, though.