Tiger trio sweep SEC softball weekly awards

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Behind tremendous efforts at the plate and in the circle over the Tiger Invitational, senior Alyssa Rivera, sophomore Samantha Yarbrough and freshman Carlee McCondichie swept the Southeastern Conference’s weekly softball awards after being named Co-Player, Co-Pitcher and Co-Freshman of the Week, respectively, on Monday.

It marks the first time in Auburn softball history that the Tigers have swept all three weekly honors. The Tiger trio shared the awards with Mississippi State’s Chloe Malau’ulu (Co-Player), Annie Willis (Co-Pitcher) and Madisyn Kennedy (Co-Freshmen).

The Tiger trio were integral parts to Auburn’s 5-1 performance over the Tiger Invitational, which featured a 5-1 victory over No. 18 Minnesota and two come-from-behind efforts to defeat Georgia Southern and Binghamton.

Earning SEC Player of the Week for the first time in her career, Rivera recorded five multi-hit outings over the weekend tournament. The right fielder posted a .667 average over Auburn’s six game slate, racking up 12 hits and 10 runs scored. Rivera slugged one double and two home runs for a staggering 1.056 slugging percentage over the weekend. The Eagle Lake, Fla., native also drew a team-leading four walks to pair with a .727 on-base percentage. She added six RBI.

A key piece in Auburn’s extra-inning victory over Georgia Southern (Feb. 28) to open the Tiger Invitational, Rivera tied her career high with a 4-for-5 performance at the plate against the Eagles. Trailing by one in the bottom of the seventh and down to the last out, Rivera slugged a solo homer to force extra innings. She would come up big once more in the bottom of the ninth, walking off for the 5-4 victory with an RBI single.

Rivera was unstoppable on the base paths with a perfect 7-for-7 effort in steal attempts. She closed the Tiger Invitational with 34 career stolen bases to move into a tie for fifth place in program history with Lauren Walton (2004-07). She is the first Tiger to win SEC Player of the Week since her teammate Tannon Snow brought home the award on April 9, 2019.

Yarbrough made her presence felt in the circle as the anchor of the Auburn pitching staff over the Tiger Invitational. The transfer from South Alabama posted a 3-0 record in the circle and picked up her first save of the season. Yarbrough also combined for Auburn’s second shutout of the year, topping Georgia Southern (March 1) by a 6-0 final. Over 17.1 innings of work, the right-hander allowed just three hits and gave up one earned run for a 0.40 ERA. She struck out 19 batters over her four appearances.

The Fairhope, Ala., native’s weekend began in Auburn’s extra-inning victory over Georgia Southern (Feb. 28) as she shut down the Eagles’ offense over the final four innings to earn the victory in relief. In her first start as a Tiger, Yarbrough tossed the first seven-inning, complete game of her career and held No. 18 Minnesota (Feb. 29) to a lone hit for the victory. She gave up a solo home run in the third before retiring 11 straight Gophers.

She followed up that performance by striking out seven of the nine batters she faced in a relief appearance against Binghamton (March 1) to earn Auburn’s first save of the season. Her seven strikeouts were a season high. She closed the weekend tossing 3.1 innings in relief against Georgia Southern (March 1) to earn her third victory of the weekend.

Yarbrough ended the Tiger Invitational by tossing 10.2 consecutive innings without allowing a run to score. She is the first Tiger to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week since Chardonnay Harris on April 30, 2019.

Starting the final four contests of the weekend at second base, Carlee McCondichie made the most of her opportunity. Going 7-for-14 at the plate to finish just behind Rivera with a .500 batting average, McCondichie added six runs scored and slugged the first double of her collegiate career over the weekend. She added four RBI and drew a pair of walks. She closed the weekend with a .571 slugging clip coupled with a .565 on-base percentage.

McCondichie earned the starting role after an impressive performance off the bench in Auburn’s first meeting with No. 18 Minnesota (Feb. 28). The freshman went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored and RBI. It was her first multi-hit game of her career.

She bested that performance by going 3-for-4 with a career-high three runs scored against Binghamton (March 1) before closing the weekend with a clutch two-run double in the sixth inning against Georgia Southern (March 1) to plate key insurance runs for the Tigers. It was her first multi-RBI outing.

McCondichie is the first Tiger to be named SEC Freshman of the Week since her teammate Makenna Dowell was honor on March 27, 2018.

Auburn begins a six-game road swing on Wednesday with its final tune-up before the start of conference play. The Tigers trek to Macon, Ga., for a doubleheader at Mercer. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. CT.