Jacksonville State scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning, and Auburn’s bats couldn’t find anything in the last frame, falling 3-2 in the elimination game at the Tallahassee Regional tonight.
Auburn finishes the year at 41-17 in Mickey Dean’s first season as head coach, but the early exit at the SEC Tournament and the failure to reach a Super Regional for the first time in four seasons will leave a sour taste in the mouths of Tiger fans.
In tonight’s game, Alyssa Rivera gave Auburn an early 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second inning, and Makalya Martin pitched well to limit Jacksonville State to just one hit through the first four innings. However, in the fifth, the Gamecocks strung together three hits to tie the game at 1-1. In the sixth inning, Rivera took a pitch over the left field wall to put Auburn on top 2-1 and give the Tigers a short-lived lead, as Jacksonville State then scored two runs in the top of the seventh. Ashlee Swindle came in after the runs were allowed and got three straight outs to end the threat, but Auburn couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the seventh and fell 3-2.
The good news for the Tigers looking ahead to next season is that there were only three seniors on the team — Victoria Draper, Courtney Shea, and Kaylee Carlson — and so a great core group will return for Mickey Dean’s second season. It was certainly a different type of softball this year than we saw the past few seasons, but it was effective and saw another good season overall. We’ll grow next year and get even better. War Eagle!