By Charles Goldberg
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Emily Carosone shrugged off Auburn's loss in the opener of the College World Series finals Monday.
Lose Game 1? Hey, there's always Game 2.
"We've been against the wall plenty of times. We know how to handle it," said Auburn's second baseman after an oh-so-close 3-2 loss to Oklahoma in the opener of the best-of-three softball finals at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.
Auburn's 57-win season is littered with comebacks, including bouncing back from an opening loss to Arizona in the Super Regionals. Auburn beat the Wildcats the next two in that one to advance to the World Series.
Now, Auburn, just as it did before Monday's game, needs two victories to win the national title, and must win in Tuesday's 7 p.m. game to force a winner-take-all Wednesday final.
Auburn coach Clint Myers knows the score.
"You've got to win two. You can pick the first two, you can pick the first and last. We chose to pick the last two.
"We still believe nothing has changed. You've still got win two games. This is a good ball club. You're going to see us come out fighting."
Auburn fell to 57-11. Oklahoma improved to 56-7. And it took the hottest team and hottest pitcher in college softball to cool off Auburn.
Oklahoma's Sydney Romero blasted a 3-run homer and Paige Parker won for the 37th time for the Sooners, which extended their winning streak to 31 games. Jade Rhodes' 2-run homer made it 3-2 in the seventh. Auburn wasn't done, but, with runners on second and third with one out, pinch-runner Casey McCrackin was thrown out at the plate on a grounder. The game ended with runners on first and third.
The finish was similar to Sunday's 8-7 win over Florida State when the Tigers scored the winning run on a close play at the plate. Monday, the Tigers were out at home.
"Don't be hanging your heads," Myers said. "We're excited to be here."
Auburn starter Lexi Davis made her first start since May 7 and turned in a winning effort, save for one pitch, the homer by Romero. It was her turn. Auburn has had different stars throughout the season, from the big bats at the top of the lineup, to a spectacular catch by Victoria Draper in Sunday's win over Florida State.
Davis, the senior, showed she still has it.
"I'm very proud of Lexi Davis," Myers said. "There was talk of why she was pitching. I think you saw why she pitched. She gave up seven hits, and five didn't leave the infield. If we make a play at first base we win that ball game. She pitched well enough to win, we just didn't support her offensively or defensively."
Davis said she appreciated another chance.
"I was ecstatic. I've been ready all season in the bullpen throwing," Davis said. "I've taken on a different role, and just trying to do my job whenever I was needed. Confidence was a key, and that's what I tried to go out there and exude."
Parker has pitched every inning for the Sooners in the NCAA regionals and the College World Series. The Sooners wouldn't say if she'd pitch Tuesday.
"All I know is they're going to have somebody in the circle, and that's not going to change
our mindset," Myers said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine