Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - The Tigers’ journey to the World Series ended Saturday afternoon, after falling in game two of the NCAA 2017 Softball Super Regionals.
The team, with its four seniors Kasey Cooper, Haley Fagan, Jenna Abbott and Sydne Waldrop, looked to make a third-straight trip to the Women’s College World Series. The Oklahoma Sooners ended Auburn’s attempt for a championship again. It started when Oklahoma won game one 4-0 and then closed out the series in game two with a 5-2 victory.
“I have no real words to say other than the fact that I felt that we were a better team than what we played,” Auburn head coach Clint Myers said. “I think we underachieved. I’m disappointed as the girls are too because I thought our season would be prolonged. We got beat by a very good Oklahoma team. They didn’t make mistakes and we did, and when you’re playing good teams you can’t make mistakes.”
Kaylee Carlson allowed six hits and struck out three in game two. Carlson pitched her 21st complete game of the season. However, Oklahoma managed to capitalize on several Auburn mistakes on defense and maintain a lead over Auburn starting in the second inning. The Sooners scored a three-run homer in the second and then topped off the game with two runs in the sixth inning to solidify its lead to win the game.
Nicole Pendley played a big part in both of Oklahoma’s wins in the Super Regional. Pendley had an RBI double in game one and then hit a three-run home run and RBI single to top it off in game two. Oklahoma also turned to left-handed pitcher Paige Lowary for most of the game. Kasey Cooper almost scored a home run, but came up inches short. Oklahoma was prepared to go to Paige Parker, who pitched in game one, but Lowary was able to end the game and the series.
"Paige Lowary has waited her entire life for an opportunity like this," Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. "I wanted to really allow her to challenge and come in and kind of set a ton. Mariah did a great job of what we asked her to do and it's important to put Paige in those though situations because that's become her role, is to come in and stop the bleeding as they say." Following the last pitch, and the end of Auburn’s season, the team was emotional and in tears. Kasey Cooper’s historic career at Auburn also came to an end. Cooper went 1-for-3 with an RBI in her last game in an Auburn uniform. Cooper finished her career with 270 runs, which is No. 1 in the SEC, and an Auburn program record 67 home runs. Despite the season ending earlier than wanted, the team remained optimistic for next season. “We’ve been able to host three Super Regionals. There’s a reason,” Myers said. “We’ve been there two out of four years. There’s a reason. Do we expect to be there next years? You bet. Do we expect to host another Super Regional? Yeah.” “We have very young girls come in on visits,” Cooper said. “When I grew up, the biggest program in Alabama was Alabama. Everybody wanted to go to Bama. Now, girls are starting to come to Auburn. They’re like, ‘I want to come to Auburn. I want to play under Clint.’It’s so rewarding. I’m very proud of where this program has gone. It’s grown a lot.”