Emily Carosone (above) smashes a grandslam home run for the Tigers to give Auburn a walk-off win.
Oklahoma City--Trailing 7-0 after giving up six runs in the top of the second inning, the Auburn Tigers rallied for a dramatic 11-7 win as Emily Carosone’s grand slam homer in the bottom of the eighth inning won it
That shot, plus numerous other key hits for the Tigers, set up a winner take all game for the national championship at 6 p.m. CDT on Wednesday at the College World Series.
"You can't count us out," Coach Clint Myers said. "We have a very, very good offense....I am extremely proud of them to have this opportunity.
"We are playing a very talented, well-coach Oklahoma team," Myers said.
Emily Carosone is greeted by Clint Myers after her grand slam.
Sophomore shortstop Whitney Jordan got the comeback started with a three-run homer in the second inning. "I am very proud of her play this season because the type of person she is," Myers said. "She competes on every play."
"I was so happy I helped my team," said Jordan, who contributed to the big early deficit with a pair of errors on ground balls.
Junior third baseman Kasey Cooper’s two-run bomb over the right field fence tied the game at 7-7 in the fourth inning.
"We have always been known for never quitting--for having that relentless attitude," Cooper said. "We know we are a championship team."
Another key play was Howard jumping over the left field wall to keep the game tied and take away a potential two-run homer. It was a play that Cooper said the left fielder works on in practice for just such a situation.
That set the stage for Carosone’s heroics after a one-out bunt single by Victoria Draper and a bloop single by Tiffany Howard, her fourth hit of the game, in the eighth inning.
Cooper, the SEC Player of the Year, walked to load the bases with one out. On the first pitch Carosone ended the game.
Senior lefty Rachael Walters pitched five innings of scoreless relief while freshman Makayla Martin pitched the final two innings to pick up the win. "I knew I wasn't ready to be done today," Walters said of her attitude when she entered the game. Walters joked that she was so happy with her teammate Howard's catch that she would even take care of the left fielder's pet rats.
Martin said she wasn't nervous to be called on with the game on the line. "Coach says if you are scared you aren't prepared," the freshman said. "We prepared for this moment the whole year."
Makayla Martin allowed just one hit in two innings of relief.
The Tigers improved their record 58-11 while ending Oklahoma’s 31-game winning streak. The Sooners dropped to 56-8. It was the first loss for Oklahoma since April 2nd.
"It was 7-0 and we only hit once," Myers said when asked what he told his team after the Tigers struggled to start the game. "It wasn't difficult to tell them to just go out there and be Auburn and be proud. We have had a hell of a season and we have one more game to play."
With Oklahoma deciding not to go with their ace pitcher, lefty Paige Parker who warmed up but did not enter the game, the Tigers finished with 13 hits, including four by Howard, three by Carosone and two by Cooper, who drove home three runs. Howard scored three times and Carosone had the four RBI on the grand slam.