|W - Parker (37-3)||7.0||4||2||2||3||1|
|L - Davis (6-1)||6.0||7||3||3||2||1|
|S - N/A||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|AUB - Rhodes||2||1||1||2||1||1|
|OU - Romero||3||1||1||3||0||1|
Oklahoma is one win away from its third national championship ... the Sooners are 3-0 all-time against Auburn and 8-0 vs. SEC teams this season ... OU is 21-14 all-time in the Women's College World Series, tying for the sixth most wins in WCWS history ... the win was the 31st in a row for Oklahoma, tied for the 17th longest in NCAA history ... OU has homered in 10 straight World Series games and 13 of its past 14 such contests ... OU's 56 wins are the fourth most in Big 12 history ... Paige Parker won for the 27th straight appearance and she has 37 wins this year, tied for second most in a season in OU history ... Parker's 54 career complete games are tied for ninth most in program annals ... Shay Knighten was 2-3 and has hit safely in eight straight games, a career best runs ... Sydney Romero hit her 10th home run of the season and her fourth in the last six games
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The third-seeded Oklahoma Softball team (56-7) is one win away from its third national championship after a 3-2 win Monday night over No. 4 Auburn (57-11) in the opening game of the Women’s College World Series Championship Series.
OU can become the third program in NCAA history to win at least three national titles Tuesday night. Game two is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The win was the 31st in a row for Oklahoma to extend the school record winning streak. It’s tied for the 17th longest in NCAA history and is the longest since Florida won 37 straight in 2008.
Much like the Sooners’ other World Series games, the victory didn’t come easy.
After recording just two hits through the first six innings, Auburn finally got to OU starter Paige Parker in the top of the seventh. Oklahoma led 3-0 but Carlee Wallace walked and Jade Rhodes followed with a two-run homer to trim the lead to 3-2.
Haley Fagan kept up the pressure with a single up the middle before being replaced by pinch runner Casey McCrackin. Parker got the first out of the inning with a strikeout of Madi Gipson, but Whitney Jordan followed with a grounder to Parker’s right that she picked up and threw wildly to first base.
Auburn now had the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second with just one out. Courtney Shea pinch hit for No. 9 hitter Victoria Draper and smashed a hard grounder at OU’s freshman first baseman Shay Knighten. Knighten knocked it down, kept her composure and fired home to sophomore catcher Lea Wodach, who applied the tag on a sliding McCrackin for the second out.
Despite getting the second out, OU still faced the threat of the tying run standing on third base. Leadoff hitter Tiffany Howard batted next but on the first pitch she popped up to freshman third baseman Sydney Romero for the game’s final out.
Knighten’s play in the seventh wasn’t the only defensive highlight for the Sooners.
In the top of the first, Kasey Cooper stood on first base after a one-out single. Emily Carosone then hit a tapper in front of the plate that Wodach fielded and threw to freshman Caleigh Clifton who was covering at first. Cooper aggressively tried to move up to third on the play, but Clifton threw across the diamond to Romero at third for OU’s fourth double play of the WCWS.
It was the latest in a series of hard-fought victories for Oklahoma, dating back to the Super Regionals.
In the game that sent the Sooners to the World Series, Louisiana-Lafayette cut a 7-3 lead to 7-6 in the bottom of the seventh and had the winning run at the plate. In the WCWS opener, it took eight innings for the Sooners to top Alabama. The next night, OU again held a 7-3 lead moving to the bottom of the seventh but Michigan cut the lead to 7-5 and had the winning run on base. Even Sunday night against LSU, the Tigers had the tying run on deck in the bottom of the seventh in OU’s 7-3 win.
Monday’s victory over the Tigers of Auburn was the 37th for Parker this year, tying for the second most wins in a season in program history, and she’s earned the win in 27 straight appearances. Parker had one strikeout and gave up two runs on four hits and three walks.
After 2.5 scoreless innings, the Sooners got on the board in the bottom of third, keeping their streak intact of scoring first in each World Series game so far.
Sophomore Kelsey Arnold led off with a walk, and senior Erin Miller moved her up to second base with a drag-bunt single. Two quick outs came via strikeout and fly out, but freshman Sydney Romero came through in the clutch. She pulled a 1-0 pitch above the fences in left center for a three-run homer.
The blast kept up the recent power surge for Romero. She has 10 home runs on the season, four of which have come in the last six games, including two in the World Series.