By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Carlee Wallace takes solace from last year’s Super Regional, when Auburn lost the first game at home to Arizona but rallied to take the series, advancing to Oklahoma City.
“We’ve been in this spot before,” Wallace said. “Last year against U of A, we were down the first game, didn’t have good offensive numbers the first game, but we fought and we came back so it’s nothing new. We’ve done it before. We’ve got to come out and just be us.”
Auburn generated three extra-base hits against Oklahoma ace Paige Parker, including one that came oh-so-close to leaving the ballpark, but the Sooners beat the Tigers 4-0 Friday in the first game of their Super Regional.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Kasey Cooper launched a towering fly ball to deep center field, glancing off Nicole Pendley’s glove and hitting about a foot below the top of the wall.
Cooper slid into third, but was stranded there when Parker recorded one of her 14 strikeouts. Minutes later, Oklahoma broke a scoreless tie, scoring twice in the sixth, quieting the single-game Jane B. Moore Field record crowd of 2,477.
“Having our crowd is awesome. They’re always up and loud,” said pitcher Makayla Martin. “The home field is always an advantage.”
“They outplayed us today and the plan is to outplay them tomorrow,” Auburn coach Clint Myers said. ”Our lack of success had nothing to do with pitching. It had to do with lack of offense.”
Needing two wins to advance to a third straight Women’s College World Series, Auburn will turn to Kaylee Carlson in Saturday’s 12 p.m. game.
“They’re not going to let up,” Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso said. “This is going to fire up the fans. It’s going to be another battle.”
Asked about his expectation for Saturday’s game, Myers was succinct. “To win,” he said. “There is no tomorrow if you don’t.”
Succeeding in the rugged Southeastern Conference prepared Auburn to persevere, Myers said.
“Every weekend is a super regional,” Myers said. “We’ve won seven out of eight. We should have won eight. Two times here, we lose the first game in the SEC and we came back and won the next two. The expectation is to win. We’ve been in this situation. It’s nothing more than a conference game against a very good opponent. They’re a great team. It’s going to be another dogfight.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer