OKLAHOMA CITY – One win away. That’s all the Oklahoma softball team is from winning its third national championship and second since 2013.
The Sooners earned their 31st consecutive win in a thrilling 3-2 victory against fourth-seeded Auburn in Game 1 of the Women’s College World Series championship series Monday night at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
OU, the No. 3 seed, held a comfortable 3-0 margin heading into the top of the seventh following another sensational outing from Paige Parker.
But things got tense in a hurry. Auburn’s Jade Rhodes hit a two-run homer, and the Tigers had runners on second and third with just one out.
OU freshman first baseman Shay Knighten fielded a sharply hit ground ball and instead of trying for the force out at first, threw a rocket to home plate to gun down the runner.
Parker was able to get the next batter to pop out, and No. 31 in a row was in the books.
OU has been known all season for not having one superstar but a collection of formidable hitters, and it showed again Monday.
Freshman Sydney Romero provided OU’s only runs with a monster three-run home run in the bottom of the third to left-center field. Knighten on the at-bat before flied out on a changeup, getting too far in front.
Romero, though, waited on the changeup that was up in the zone and crushed it.
Parker has been a workhorse for the Sooners throughout the postseason, but Monday actually saw her throw less pitches than normal. Auburn only had four hits, but the Tigers put the ball in play, which limited the number of pitches Parker had to throw.
Game 2 of the series is 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. OU will have two shots to gun for its third national championship under head coach Patty Gasso.