Auburn coach Clint Myers will have the best pitcher in the SEC, Kaylee Carlson, back in 2018 (photo:Julie Bennett/al.com)
“In order to win, we’ve got to play better. We’ve got to perform better. We’ve got to execute better.” Words spoken by Auburn coach Clint Myers moments after his team was defeated in the Super Regional 5–2 by Oklahoma.
While fans were disappointed, no one hurt more than the players themselves. The crushing loss not only ended their season but also eliminated them from playing in their third consecutive Women’s College World Series.
As they have all year, the No. 7 Tigers (49–12, 17–7) fought hard. Auburn ace Kaylee Carlson was true to form, completing her 21st game of the year, striking out three and allowing just six hits. Offensively, Casey McCrackin hit a solo home run, while the best softball player ever to play at Auburn, Kasey Cooper, drove in a run and was literally robbed of a homer—just inches from going out— by Sooner outfielder Macey Hatfield’s great catch at the wall. And, there were also singles by Victoria Draper and Courtney Shea.
But as in most high profile matches between two top teams, the difference came down to which team made the fewest mistakes. On Saturday, that team was Oklahoma. For instance, the Sooners (56–9) scored two runs in the sixth due to a miscommunication in left field and a throwing error on a double steal. “We got beat by a very good Oklahoma team,” said Myers. “They didn’t make mistakes. We did. When you are playing good teams, you can’t make mistakes.”
Nevertheless, Myers and his team have nothing to be ashamed of. In the four years since taking the helm at Auburn, the Tigers have gone from being a middle-of-the pack SEC team to one of the most feared and respected teams in college softball.
Auburn has been an SEC Tourney Champion, hosted three Super Regionals, and came within one run of winning the 2016 national championship. Make no mistake this program is special. It may not have won a national championship, but the bar has been set high for all those who follow.
The culture at Auburn has changed from one of expecting to have a good team to one of expecting to win championships. And with a top recruiting class coming in, you can bet the Tigers will be back in the chase for a national championship in 2018 …
Count on it!
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The No. 7 Auburn Softball team (49–10) will host the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (54–9) at 3:00 p.m. CT in a rematch of the 2016 Women's College World Series finals.
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