In another pulse-pounding finish featuring two of the elite programs in D-I softball, Auburn held off NCAA defending champion Oklahoma as Tigers relief pitcher Kaylee Carlson struck out the two batters she faced in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The highly anticipated matchup between last year’s NCAA championship series finalists and the preseason No. 1 (OU) and No. 2 (Auburn) teams definitely got pulses racing in the later innings. Auburn (1-0) pulled ahead 3-0 on a solo home run from Kendall Veach in the top of the seventh; Oklahoma (0-1) got singles from Sydney Romero and Nicole Pendley off starter Makayla Martin in the bottom of the inning, and they advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt.
Freshman Vanessa Taukeiaho laced a two-run single to center field to make is 3-2, and that’s when Tigers coach Clint Myers turned to Carlson. She got Kelsey Arnold on a called third strike for the second out, then got leadoff hitter Caleigh Clifton out swinging.
Veach also hit a solo homer in the third inning; the Tigers got their other run in the first on a single from Courtney Shea that plated Carlee Wallace.
Oklahoma starter Paige Lowary, a transfer from Missouri, struck out 11 batters; for the Tigers, Martin did not register any strikeouts, but scattered three hits through her first six innings of work.