Softball Ends the Streak Against Mizzou, Advances to SEC Quarter Finals

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Softball Ends the Streak Against Mizzou, Advances to SEC Quarter Finals

One could say that streaks are meant to be broken. One could say that if you’ve lost nine straight, losing one more shouldn’t be a surprise. One thing is for sure: Auburn was playing its worst softball in six years heading into the SEC tournament and typically that is disastrous. 

It took five hours more than expected to get Auburn’s first game underway, thanks to weather that would not cooperate. Storms and even tornado warnings pushed games later and later. The game that was supposed to tee off at 3:30 in the afternoon didn’t start until 8:30. Did it benefit either team?

It’s hard to disagree that Auburn was ready, especially the pitching which would typically be surprising since delays can be death for pitchers who go through ritualistic warm-ups. Is it possible that coach Mickey Dean even made a pitching change? It’s certainly possible. Ashlee Swindle has been Auburn’s go-to in game one of almost every single series this season. Last night, Chardonnay Harris got the start and she was beyond fantastic. But then again, she has been fantastic in her limited starts all season. 

Harris went the distance against Missouri, improving to 10-5, while allowing just five hits in seven innings. She added six strikeouts while giving out four bases. Usually, a game like that would be the talk, but it was Auburn’s inspired defense that took the spotlight.

Shortstop Taylon Snow played out of her mind all night. She made three diving catches, including one behind third base and one up the middle that were critical. However, it was her double play with one out and two runners on that saved the day. A sharp hit ball up the middle looked like it would drop short and take a nasty and unplayable bounce. Snow pounced on the ball as it began to drop then snapped a throw to second to double off the runner.

In addition, Morgan Podany had quite the day when she added a clutch catch in centerfield that looked like it would be over her head for extra bases. It was a beautiful backhand catch on the run. 

She wasn’t done, either. Despite hitting just .137, the lowest average among every day starters, Podany caught a pitch in the fifth inning and went yard for just the second time this year. That homer added a cushion the the Tiger’s 2-0 lead.

It was Kendall Veach’s single on a hit-and-run with Casey McCrackin on second base that won the game for the Tigers. McCrackin played the sharp hit grounder up the middle perfectly, pausing in front of the shortstop just long enough for the ball to get through

Auburn desperately needs to advance, perhaps make it to the SEC Tournament finals and hopefully host a regional. They take on Tennessee today at 5:30 in the quarterfinals, weather permitting. Auburn stole a series in Knoxville before going ice-cold down the SEC stretch. It would be the perfect time for the Tigers to get red-hot at the plate. 

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