Kasey Cooper (above) will have one more season with the Tigers.
Oklahoma City--All-American third baseman Kasey Cooper said the toughest part of losing 2-1 in the national championship game is how her teammate and friend Emily Carosone is feeling about her final game for the Auburn Tigers.
The hero of Auburn’s Tuesday night win over Oklahoma to set up a winner take all game three at the College Softball World Series, Carosone’s two errors on the same play in the first inning allowed the Sooners to score the two unearned runs they need to take the title on Wednesday night.
Auburn, the nation’s leader in runs scored per game, managed just five hits in the championship contest and a single run on a homer by Jade Rhodes.
“I am frustrated to the fact that we know we are better, but I am more frustrated that we didn’t have Emily’s back,” said Cooper, the SEC Player of the Year.
“Emily had a bad game and we weren’t there for her,” Cooper added. “We are better. When Whitney (shortstop Whitney Jordan on Tuesday) had a bad game we got behind her and gave her the support and Emily shouldn’t be feeling this way because we didn’t have her...and that is what I?have to say about that.”
Rhodes said it was a tough way for the Tigers to end the best season in school history as the Tigers finished with a 58-12 record.
“Yeah, I am frustrated, but it happens to the best,” the first baseman said. “We got them to the third game and most people didn’t think that was going to happen. I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is an amazing team. It just sucks we had to go out this way. I know we are capable of hitting. We have shown that all the time.”
Jade Rhodes crosses home plate with Auburn's only run in Wednesday's game.
Carosone credited Oklahoma’s pitcher for coming through with a strong performance in the title contest.
“Paige Parker did a great job,” Carosone said. “It is the happiest time of the year, the saddest time of the year. There is always a loser, there is always a winner. Oklahoma deserves it.”
Senior Tiffany Howard predicted more success for Auburn softball under the direction of Clint Myers. The left fielder credited the Hall of Fame coach for her personal improvement and the improvement of the program, which made its only two College World Series appearances in 2015 and 2016.
“I just hope they continue to work as hard as we did this entire year in practice and really do come back stronger and bring these other freshmen in and get them moving faster and learning faster,” Howard said. “They will be right back here next year if they can do that. I know they can.”