Kasey Cooper (above) slides into third following a triple.
Auburn, Ala.--Paige Parker, who defeated Auburn twice in last year’s College Softball World Series, did it again on Friday to give Oklahoma a 1-0 lead in the Auburn Super Regional.
The junior left-hander scattiered four hits and struck out 14 batters in improving her record to 23-5 this season as Oklahoma defeated Auburn 4-0.
For a second straight year the Tigers dropped the opener of their super regional. Last year they came back with two wins vs. Arizona to move on to Oklahoma City for the College World Series. On Saturday at noon the Tigers will play in a must-win situation to keep their season alive. If they win that gave a third one will be played at noon on Sunday.
“We clearly didn’t live up to expectations,” Auburn coach Clint Myers said. “We had opportunities to score. We didn’t do it. They out-played us today and the plan is to out-play them tomorrow.”
Parker, who walked three batters, was never burned when the Tigers got runners in scoring position.
“It is just going out and being gritty and doing whatever you can to not let them score and knowing my defense has my back and knowing I didn’t have to come up with a big strikeout,” the All-American left-hander said of what worked for her on Friday.
OU?coach Patty Gasso said she was impressed by Parker’s performance. “She thrives in these settings. What I?really loved, throughout our entire lineup for the most part, everybody contributed with some offense.”
Haley Fagan makes a tag at second base for an out on a throw by Carlee Wallace on a steal attempt.
Auburn junior catcher Carlee Wallace was asked about what Parker did well against the Tigers. “Same old same old--we just didn’t do what we were supposed to do, swing at strikes, take balls, timely hitting, hit with runners in scoring position. None of that really happened.”
Wallace added, “We have been in this spot before. I?am irritated if you can’t tell. I am not happy. I think if I am happy I am loser and we are not losers around here so you can get mad when you lose.
“Last year against U of A (Arizona) we didn’t have good offensive numbers the first game, but we fought and we came back so it is nothing new...We just have to come out and be us.”
Alyssa Rivera races towards second base on a double to left center field.
Martin got into immediate trouble in the top of the first inning with a leadoff single to center field and a one-out single to right field. A two-out walk loaded the bases, but the right-hander forced a fly ball to shallow center field to end the threat.
Oklahoma’s Parker escaped a bases loaded jam in the second inning. Kendall Veach smashed a double to the left field wall. Morgan Podany drew a two-out walk and then Casey McCrackin loaded the bases with a bunt single. Jenna Abbott, pinch-hitting for Victoria Draper, struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
Auburn just missed scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning when Kasey Cooper hit a ball to the center field fence that needed about another foot to be a home run.
Makayla Martin makes a tag at the plate after catching a Sooners runner off third base.
Oklahoma then took control of the game with two runs on three hits in the top of the sixth. The big blow was a two-out double over the left fielder’s head by junior Nicole Pendley that put the Sooners ahead 1-0.
The Sooners added two insurance runs on four hits in the seventh inning.
“Our lack of success today had nothing to do with pitching ,” Myers said. “It had to do with lack of offense. It is tough to win when you get three (actually four)?hits.”
The Auburn coach had praise for the Sooners. “They are a great team,”?he said. “It is going to be another dogfight.”
Game two is set for noon CDT and it will be televised on ESPN.
Haley Fagan makes a play at shortstop on Friday.