*Courtesy Auburn Media Relations*
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Auburn came through in the pinch time and again Sunday, but it was Minnesota that found the biggest hit of all.
The Gophers' Sam Macken hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to carry her team to an 8-6 win in the championship game of this NCAA softball regional. That topped the dramatics of Auburn, which won Sunday's first game over Minnesota with a pinch-hit homer from Jenna Abbott in a 4-3 win, and a pinch-hit grand slam from McKenzie Kilpatrick in the second game that gave the Tigers a 6-3 lead in the third.
Auburn won three straight elimination games before falling as the sun set on its season. The Tigers finished with a 42-19-1 record in Clint Myers' first season as coach. The 42 wins tied for the second most wins in program history.
"For a team full of freshman of various ages, I think they did a great job," Myers said."Ultimately, the legacy of Auburn softball started in Minneapolis as far as the playoffs. We're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. There is no doubt, none whatsoever."
The Tigers were trying to fight their way out of the loser's bracket after falling to North Dakota State on Friday. Auburn almost did by beating Green Bay and North Dakota State on Saturday, and by beating home-standing Minnesota in Sunday's early game.
Lexi Davis started all five of Auburn games in the regional and her gutty performances gave the Tigers a chance.