OXFORD, Miss. – Behind timely hitting throughout the lineup and another shutdown performance from Shelby Lowe, Auburn softball (26-16, 6-12 SEC) knocked off Ole Miss (31-16, 12-9 SEC) in Sunday’s series finale at the Ole Miss Softball Complex to secure Mickey Dean’s 600th head coaching victory.
“I didn’t even know what was happening. I didn’t know what the team was doing postgame with the silly string,” Dean said. “I was thinking it was alright to celebrate, but we have won before. Then they informed me. It was a pretty cool moment.”
Lowe and Ole Miss starter Anna Tillmann kept both offenses quiet through four innings before the Tigers plated two runs in the fifth to break open the game. The Rebels cut the Tiger lead to one in the bottom of the fifth, but Lindsey Garcia drove in an insurance run in the sixth to propel Auburn to the victory.
Lowe tossed the complete game and improved to 13-5 on her freshman season. The lefty gave up just one run off four hits. She hit a pair of batters while also walking two. Lowe struck out five in the appearance.
At the plate, Auburn’s lineup combined for seven hits. Garcia led Auburn at the plate as she went 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI. Alyssa Rivera picked up a double in Sunday’s contest to record her 200th career hit.
“What I did was took our most aggressive hitters in the count, and I put them one through four in the lineup,” said Dean. “The rest of the team just fed off it. Maddison Koepke had a big hit. Tyler King got us going early. Lindsey Garcia came through in a clutch situation. I think we did a great job of continuing to keep pressure.”
It was a pitchers’ duel through the first four innings until the Tigers finally broke through in the fifth inning. Sydney Cox led off the inning with a single to deep short and was lifted for pinch runner Makayla Packer. Lindsey Garcia drove a single up the middle and took second on the throw to put two in scoring position for the Tigers.
Makenna Dowell drove in the first run of the game with single to center. Koepke pushed the lead to 2-0, picking up an RBI on an Ole Miss error at second.
The Rebels cut the Tiger lead to one with a Paige Smith RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth, but Auburn put the pressure right back on with a two-out rally in the sixth.
Rivera led off the rally with a double to left field before Cox moved her to third with help of a second Ole Miss error. The birthday girl Garcia pushed the lead to 3-1 with a single to short.
Ole Miss led off the seventh with a single to center, but Asypn Godwin fired down to second to throw out the runner. The Rebels got a second runner on board with a hit by pitch to bring the tying run back to the plate, but Lowe battled back with back-to-back groundouts to play spoiler.
The Tigers return to Jane B. Moore Field for the final time this season as Auburn hosts No. 19/17 Tennessee for a three-game series. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT.
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