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Auburn's softball season comes to an end with a loss to FSU

Coach Mickey Dean's era with Auburn softball is officially over.

After defeating UCF on Saturday night in a four-hour-plus thriller in which star senior Maddie Penta struck out a program-record 21 batters in 12 innings, the Tigers couldn't find a way to surpass Florida State on Sunday in the Tallahassee Regional, falling against the Seminoles, 10-4.

The loss not only ends Auburn's season, but also Dean's seven-year tenure with the Plains. Dean arrived at Auburn before the 2018 season and, with the exception of 2020, when the postseason was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he led the Tigers to a regional appearance every year. He finishes his time at Auburn with a record of 235-129-1.

Dean announced in March that he planned to step down from his position at the end of the season. The plan is for him to take on a new role as special assistant to athletics director John Cohen.

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Auburn softball fails in the sixth inning

Since Penta threw 224 pitches against the Knights and 33 pitches against Chattanooga the previous Saturday, the Tigers opted to use senior left-hander Shelby Lowe in their matchup against Florida State. Lowe had a solid performance – she finished the game with eight strikeouts in five innings – but allowed a three-run home run to start the third inning and loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth.

Dean turned to Penta with the bases loaded. Penta struck out the first two batters she faced before driving in a run. Two consecutive singles after the walk and a three-run blast immediately after put Auburn in a hole it couldn't climb out of.

Nelia Peralta comes through with two RBIs

The Tigers led briefly after junior infielder Nelia Peralta scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning. It was Peralta's first multi-RBI game since she scored two runs in a win over UAB on April 9.

Annabelle Widra and KK McCrary also added RBIs with a single and home run, respectively.

What's next

Auburn's season is over and all eyes are on Cohen as he looks for Dean's replacement.

Richard Silva is the Auburn Athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached by email at rsilva@gannett.com or on X, formerly known as Twitter, @rich_silva18.

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