AUBURN, AL— Winthrop softball split on the final day of the Tiger Invitational hosted by Auburn University as it defeated Marshall 7-5 before falling to the host, Auburn, 16-0 in five innings.
Winthrop is now 3-6 on the year as Marshall falls to 1-4 and Auburn improves to 9-1-1. The Eagles will be back in action next weekend as they travel to Spartanburg, SC for the Spartan Invitational. Winthrop opens up against Furman on Friday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.
“In the first game we swung the bats well,” said Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke. “Marshall is a good hitting team and Sutton (Watson) threw well. I keep telling the team we took three days off because of the snow/ice and weren’t ready to come down and play like we are capable of. Against Auburn, errors in the first two innings killed us and after that it went downhill. I saw some good things down here to build on and we’ll look forward to getting back to playing next weekend.”
In the first game of the day, Winthrop jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first against the Thundering Herd. Zharne Glover reached base with a leadoff walk and then moved to second on fielder’s choice as the throw to get Glover at second was off the mark. McKenzi Corn singled to load the bases as Sarah Allen stepped in and drew a walk to make it 1-0. With two outs and the bases loaded, Alex White stepped in and singled to right, scoring Paige Haley and Corn.
After Marshall got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third with an RBI single from Morgan Zerkle, Winthrop posted four more runs in the top of the fourth for a 7-1 lead. The Eagles loaded the bases again as Corn reached on an error and then Allen walked and was replaced at first by pinch-runner Leah Young. Two batters later Maddie Antone singled up the middle to load the bases and keep the inning alive. White stepped back in with a chance to add to her RBI total and came through again with a two-RBI single up the middle. Kelsey Ritter added a two-RBI single to second to finish off the scoring for the Eagles.
Marshall tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh as it managed three runs, highlighted by an RBI triple by Zerkle and a two-run home run with two outs by Raquel Escareno.
Despite running into trouble in the seventh, Watson finished the game in the pitching circle and improve to 3-1 on the year. Watson allowed five earned runs on seven hits with three walks and had a season-high nine strikeouts (one shy of career-high).
Jordan Dixon took the loss for Marshall as she allowed seven runs (three earned) on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in four innings of work.
White finished the game with three hits and tied her career-high with four RBI. Corn finished with two hits and two runs.
The second game of the day saw the Eagles run into a hot hitting Auburn team as it blasted three home runs including a grand slam during a seven-run third inning.
Winthrop’s lone hit against the Tigers came in the fourth inning as Corn broke up a no-hit bid with a double to left field. Sarah Allen started the game and suffered the loss as she falls to 0-3 on the year. Holli Ryan had the other hit in the loss to Auburn as she picked up a pinch-hit single for the first time in her collegiate career.