OKLAHOMA CITY — One night after Oklahoma and Auburn combined for 18 runs, all the Sooners needed to win Wednesday was two.
OU beat Auburn 2-1 Wednesday to win the Women’s College World Series, claiming the program’s third national championship and ending the Tigers’ terrific run through the postseason in heartbreak.
The Sooners won Game 1 of the WCWS championship series Monday night and took a 7-0 lead in the second inning of Game 2 before Auburn rallied, then later stunned OU with senior second baseman Emily Carosone’s eighth-inning, walk-off grand slam.
In Wednesday night’s winner-take-all game, though, it was two devastating mistakes by Carosone that cost the Tigers. In the bottom of the first, OU freshman Shay Knighten reached first base on an error by Carosone at second. Then, on the same play, Carosone tried to fake a throw to first base, and the ball slipped out of her hand, allowing Caleigh Clifton to score from third.
Two batters later, Knighten scored on an infield single.
The Tigers got on the board with senior Jade Rhodes’ fourth-inning solo home run, but that was the only run Auburn managed to generate against Oklahoma star pitcher Paige Parker, who beat the Tigers in Game 1 Monday but didn’t pitch Tuesday night.
Auburn’s lack of run production was especially disappointing considering the magnificent performance of Tigers freshman pitcher Makayla Martin, who went the distance against Oklahoma’s powerful offense and held the Sooners in check.
Oklahoma 2, Auburn 1 (6th inning)
- I haven’t updated in a while because there really hasn’t been anything to report. Paige Parker and Makayla Martin continue to both pretty well shut down the opposing offense entering the bottom half of the sixth.
- After Martin retired OU’s first batter of the sixth inning, the Sooners’ Fale Aviu singled up the middle. Two batters later, Kady Self hit a ground ball to third base and beat the throw to first, putting runners on first and second, but the inning ended with Lea Wodach’s ground ball to second base.
- We are headed to the top of the seventh, and if Auburn doesn’t score at least one run, it’s over and Oklahoma wins the national championship.
Oklahoma 2, Auburn 1 (4th inning)
- Auburn senior first baseman Jade Rhodes opened the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field that cut the Sooners’ lead to 2-1. Maybe the Tigers can finally get something going offensively against Parker.
- Following Rhodes’ home run, Parker walked junior Haley Fagan, but the OU sophomore then retired the next three batters to escape with only one run allowed.
- Meanwhile, Oklahoma has struggled to do much of anything on offense since the first inning. The Sooners were scoreless yet again in their half of the fourth.
Oklahoma 2, Auburn 0 (3rd inning)
- To open the top of the third, Auburn’s Victoria Draper hit a soft blooper in the air toward Parker, who just completely missed the ball. Then Tiffany Howard reached first base on a bunt and advanced Draper before Kasey Cooper singled into right-center field to load the bases. But Parker struck out Emily Carosone, then Carlee Wallace grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Oklahoma 2, Auburn 0 (2nd inning)
- Auburn put runners on first and second in the top half of the second before Parker struck out Madi Gipson swinging and Whitney Jordan looking, leaving the Tigers still down 2-0 after two full innings.
Oklahoma 2, Auburn 0 (1st inning)
- OU’s Fale Aviu beat out a throw to first base for an infield single, scoring Knighten.
- OU’s Shay Knighten reached first base on an error by Auburn second baseman Emily Carosone, who then tried to fake a throw to first, but the ball slipped out of her hand, allowing Clifton to score. Carosone was given two errors on the play.
- Oklahoma’s Caleigh Clifton reached first base on an infield hit in the bottom of the first, but the throw to first went a little wild. Auburn first baseman Jade Rhodes and Clifton got tangled up while the ball was behind first base. Both OU coach Patty Gasso and Auburn coach Clint Myers argued with the umpires, apparently about which player was responsible for the scuffle.
- Auburn went three up, three down in the top of the first, a sign that the Tigers might have a little more trouble against Parker than they did against Kelsey Stevens and Jayden Chestnut in Game 2.
Freshman Makayla Martin (15-3, 1.65 ERA) gets the start for Auburn tonight, while Oklahoma sophomore star Paige Parker (37-3, 1.65 ERA) will start in the circle for the Sooners. Parker started the first game and won, but was given Tuesday night off because she had thrown every single pitch for OU the entire postseason.