Jade Rhodes (above) is greeted at home after her home run in the seventh inning.
Oklahoma City--Oklahoma held off a seventh inning rally by the Auburn Tigers in the opening game of the College Softball World Series on Monday night to hang on for a 3-2 victory.
"I think it was a heck of a game," Auburn coach Myers said. "I am very proud of the Auburn softball team.
"I am very proud of Lexi Davis," he said. "There was some talk about why she was pitching. I think you saw why she was pitching. She gave up seven hits and five never left the infield. If we make a play at first base we win that ball game. She pitched well enough to win. We just didn't support her defensively or offensively.
"This is a good ball club," Myers said. "You are going to see us come out fighting tomorrow. Nobody is hanging their heads. We are excited to be here.
"We have been in this same spot against one heck of a good team called the University of Arizona," Myers said of Auburn's come back from a game down in the super regional round. "You have got to win two. You can pick the first two, you can pick the first and last. We chose to pick the last two. That is all it is."
With the Tigers scoreless going into the top of the seventh inning, Carlee Wallace walked and scored on a line drive shot over the center field fence by Jade Rhodes to cut the lead to one run. It was the second homer of the College World Series for the senior first baseman.
Haley Fagan then singled before Madi Gipson struck out for the first out of the inning. Whitney Jordan then reached second base with a slow roller on a throwing error by pitcher Paige Parker, moving the tying run to third base.
Pinch-hitter Courtney Shea then smashed the ball right at the Oklahoma first baseman who who deflected it with her chin, picked it up in time to throw out pinch-runner Casey McCrackin at the plate for out two. Myers said that if McCrackin had not hesitated before heading home the outcome of the game could have been different. "If we don't hesitate at third we are safe at the plate and we all might still be out there playing--you never know," he said.
With runners on first base and third base, Tiffany Howard popped up to end the game.
Sydney Romero put the Sooners on top with a two-out, three-run homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the third inning. That scored a pair of runners who reached base on a walk and bunt single off of Auburn pitcher Lexi Davis, who made her first start going back to the final week of the regular season against Texas A&M. Davis pitched one inning of relief in Auburn's regional win vs. Jacksonville State in her last outing.
Davis, a senior and the winningest pitcher in Auburn history, allowed seven hits to the Sooners. "Lexi pitched a heck of a game," Myers said.
Lexi Davis pitches for the Tigers in Monday night's contest.
Davis said she was "ecstatic" for the chance to start after losing her role as the team's featured pitcher she held the previous two seasons. "I know they had a plan. It's not exactly what my plan has been this whole season. I have taken on a different role and have tried to do my job whenever needed. He called me in there and said confidence was the key and that is what I tried to go out there and exude. That was all I could ask for was a second chance and I hope I did the best I could."
With the loss Auburn dropped to 57-11 for the season and will be in a must-win situation on Tuesday night to stay alive in the best two-out-of-three series. Oklahoma improved to 56-7 with its 31st consecutive victory.
Parker won her 27th consecutive game for the Sooners and improved her record to 37-3 while Davis dropped to 6-1 for the season.
Game two is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT on Tuesday.
Emily Carosone said she feels good about her team's chances of hitting Parker in games two and three. "We have been against the wall plenty of times," the senior second baseman said. "We know how handle it. Like Coach said, the season is not over yet. We still have a game to play with and two more to win.
"We know what we need to do," she added. "They have one pitcher. You could see that in last inning we were on here. I don't think the next two games will take as long to score some runs for our pitchers."