Auburn, Ala.--Auburn’s season ended with a 5-2 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners, the team that ended the Tigers’ 2016 season in the national championship game.
A three-run homer was the big blow for Oklahoma, which improved to 56-9 with the victory while Auburn dropped to 49-12 following Saturday’s NCAA Softball Super Regional contest at Jane B. Moore Field.
“I felt we had a better team than what we played and I think we underachieved,” Coach Clint Myers said. “I am disappointed as the girls are, too, because I thought our season would be prolonged.
“We got beat by a very good Oklahoma team,” Myers said. “They didn’t make mistakes. We did. When you are playing good teams you can’t make mistakes.
Kaylee Carlson finished her junior season with a pitching loss.
“For the seniors who are leaving I feel bad,” Myers said. “I personally wanted the season to end for the seniors in Oklahoma City.”
Myers said it is up to him and the coaches to “make the team better” and that will be the goal for the 2018 squad when it starts practice in August.
Senior third baseman Kasey Cooper, a three-time All-American, said the program has come a long way since her freshman year, the first for Myers at Auburn. “We have left a legacy, for sure,”?she said.
“The first time the coaches came in and said, ‘we are going to the College World Series’ we all laughed. Everybody was like you are crazy, you guys are all psycho--probably a lot of people still say they are psycho--but they got us to where we are. We expect to be great.”
Kasey Cooper celebrates after an RBI single.
Cooper noted that the Sooners played well in their two wins vs. the Tigers. “Shout out to them--they beat us,” she said.
Carlson ran into trouble in the second inning that wasn’t all of her own making. A leadoff bunt single by Romero was followed by a ground ball to first baseman Kendall Veach, who should have taken the sure out at first base, but instead threw to second and everybody was safe.
Nicole Fendley’s line drive home run over the right field wall would hold up as the winning margin as three runs cross the plate.
Oklahoma added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, which was more than enough against an Auburn team that finished with just four hits for a second consecutive game.
Auburn scored in the third inning on a solo home run over the left field fence by Casey McCrackin to cut the margin to 3-1.
Auburn narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the fifth inning. With two outs Victoria Draper reached second base on a throwing error by OU relief pitcher Paige Lowary. Cooper then followed with a line drive single to left field driving home Draper. Cooper took second base on the throw, but was stranded there when Carlee Wallace struck out.
Carlson took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs in six innings. She dropped to 27-5, matching the school record for most pitching wins in a season. Lowary, the losing pitcher vs. Auburn in the season opener, allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings of relief to improve to 15-3.
Kaylee Carlson went the distance pitching for the Tigers.
Carlson said the lack of hitting put pressure on the defense, which she noted had too many mental errors and included herself in the group who made those types of mistakes. “We just have to do a better job in all three parts (hitting, defense and pitching),” the junior right-hander said.
Martin said the team worked hard to earn a trip to Oklahoma City this year and should have that as the focus for 2018. “Our goal is always to go to the World Series so we are going to work hard because we did not get the chance this year. I ?think as long as everyone kind of sees how this game went and works hard over the summer then we will be ready for next year.”
Coach Clint Myers talks to his team after Saturday's game.