No. 17 Auburn is rolling behind the arm of Maddie Penta, and the Tigers secured another SEC weekend series win, taking down South Carolina 1-0 on Friday, dropping Saturday's contest 8-0 and run-ruling the Gamecocks in five innings on Sunday, 10-0.
After a 10-strikeout performance on Friday, Penta returned to the circle on Sunday and put together a no-hitter, Auburn's first in SEC play since 2006.
In Friday's series-opening contest, both defenses played lights out and each team left seven runners on base as runs were hard to come by. Penta threw 139 pitches in her first complete game of the series, facing off with a South Carolina group that featured four different pitchers heading to the circle during the contest.
Penta shutdown the Gamecock offense with those 10 strikeouts, throwing her sixth shutout of the season and fourth in SEC play, the most for an Auburn pitched since 2005.
With Penta keeping South Carolina in check, Makayla Packer finally broke the tie in the fourth inning when a single to left field brought pinch-runner Skylar Elkins to the plate, giving Auburn its 1-0 lead.
With two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, Penta struck out Jordan Fabian to secure the win.
In the one contest of the weekend without Penta, Auburn could not find any run support, and its pitching staff could not stop the Gamecocks.
Anabelle Widra got the start and took the loss for the Tigers, giving up four runs in 3.2 innings. Emmah Rolfe came stepped up in relief for Widra and gave up four more runs in just one inning before the game was called in the bottom of the fifth, 8-0.
After a scoreless first inning, Auburn committed a throwing error on a groundout from Giulia Desiderio, giving South Carolina a 1-0 lead. The Gamecocks broke the game open in the fourth when Desiderio sent a three-run home run out of the ballpark, and South Carolina continued to add on with a two-RBI homer in the fifth from Fabian before Desiderio wrapped up the contest with a two-RBI single.
The Gamecocks got five straight innings from Donnie Gobourne, and she earned her ninth win of the year and secured a no-hitter, giving up just one walk while earning seven strikeouts.
With the series tied up, Auburn turned to Penta once again and the junior secured her win No. 23 on the season, sixth most in a season by a pitcher in program history.
With nine strikeouts in the circle and two base runners allowed on walks, Penta secured the fourth no-hitter of her career and Auburn’s first against an SEC opponent since 2006.
“My defense had my back today,” Penta said. “When my offense gives me early run support, it gives me confidence to attack the plate. I get to relax and pitch my game. It’s a team effort. I can’t win a game. We’ll continue to build on this heading into the final weekend.”
That run support came from all over the batting order, as Lindsey Garcia drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first, and Icess Tresvik kicked off her day with a solo home run in the top of the second to give Auburn a 2-0.
“I was locked in today,” Tresvik said. “I hadn’t squared up the ball the last two games. I knew I need to keep a strong barrel at the plate. We want to host regionals. We need to stay locked in. Stay excited and play like an Auburn Tiger.”
Tresvik was Auburn’s leader from the plate, going 3-for-4 with the home run, a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. She was joined by Bri Ellis, who was walked four times and became just the second batter in Auburn history to be intentionally walked three times in one game.
Heading into the top of the fifth, Auburn held the 2-0 lead before breaking the game open behind a pair of RBIs from Tresvik to lead off and close the inning, a three-RBI double from KK McCrary and several walks given up by the Gamecocks pitching staff. The Tigers ended the game with ten walks at the plate.
Penta wrapped the game up by striking out the side in the bottom of the fifth, securing the no-hitter and the win.
The regular season is just about done for Auburn as the Tigers will be back home at Jane B. Moore Field for the season finale series vs. Mississippi State. First pitch for the series is scheduled for Friday, May 5 at 5 p.m. CT.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.