By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's Oklahoma City bound again, and Emily Carosone figures the Tigers may be able to finish what they started last season.
The second baseman helped Auburn sweep Arizona 4-1 and 6-1 in a Super Regional on Sunday, staving off elimination in a must-win first game, and punching its second straight trip to Oklahoma City in Game 2. The victories came with the hitting of familiar faces and the 1-2 pitching punch of Makayla Martin and Kaylee Carlson.
Auburn came up big on its most important day of the season, and now will head to the World Series to play UCLA, which beat Oregon 2-1 in that Super Regional's winner-take-all Sunday nightcap. Auburn will open World Series play at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.
Sunday was nothing to it for Auburn. "We just had to beat them twice," Carosone reasoned. "We came out with a full tank of gas, both games."
Now, it's time for Auburn's second-ever trip to Oklahoma City.
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"We're more prepared this year," Carosone said. "The first time we went it was new. The only ones who had been to the College World Series was Coach. Now, we know what to expect, we know what it feels like."
They know they'll be boarding a plane Monday in preparation for Thursday's World Series opener.
"This team is dominating," Carosone said. "Since we have the pitching, we have the hitting, we have the defense, there was no reason we shouldn't go to Oklahoma City."
Carosone was 3-for-5 with an RBI in the doubleheader. Haley Fagan hit her first homer and drove in three. Carlee Wallace and Tiffany Howard drove in two in the first game; and Kasey Cooper and Madi Gipson each drove in one. They provided the offensive cheers.
Martin, the freshman, and Carlson, the sophomore, provided the pitching, each going the distance, each allowing an earned run, combining to strike out only two, but walking just one.
"Our pitchers did a great job and the pup down there grew up a little bit," said coach Clint Myers nodding toward Martin. "She's not a freshman anymore, she's a seasoned veteran, and she is going to get the ball in Oklahoma City. We expect the same type of performance. Our expectations are high for everybody and of themselves. It was a great performance by both these young ladies."
Myers said the entire team followed suit.
"These girls played an outstanding game...they played an outstanding two games against a very, very good Arizona team," Myers said.
"These young ladies have started their journey for a national championship. They just need to continue along the lines they currently are doing. It could be a very, very good World Series for us."
Howard and Fagan delivered the big hits in the first game. Kasey Cooper and Carlee Wallace drove Auburn to a 4-0 lead in the second game.
Cooper drove in Auburn's first run and Wallace drove in the second run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Wallace drove in another in the third on a fielder's choice. Another run scored on the play on an error for a 4-0 lead.
Fagan, who missed the regular season following knee surgery, blasted a home run in the fifth for a 5-0 lead. It was her first homer since hitting one in last year's NCAA Regional against South Alabama. Carosone had an RBI in the sixth.
Auburn heads to Oklahoma City with a 54-10 record and with momentum from their final game of the season at Jane B. Moore Field.
"The fans today were phenomenal," Myers said. "For two days in a row, it was hot and humid, and I tell you, they were out there sunburned, beat red, but they never left and supported us the entire way."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine
Clint Myers finds a lot to like in Auburn's Super Regional victory. Now, it's on to College World Series. Video... pic.twitter.com/zS8qBcL6sh
-- Auburn Gold Mine (@AUGoldMine) May 30, 2016