OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Auburn's magical run through the College World Series came up a run short Wednesday night.
Oklahoma beat the Tigers 2-1 to win the third and deciding game of the World Series championship round, giving the Sooners their third softball national title and ending the Tigers' feel-good season that produced the best record in school history.
Auburn, the team of dramatics, couldn't find the big hit against the pitching might of Paige Parker, who improved 38-3 while racking up wins in the NCAA Tournament by pitching in all but one game.
But Auburn freshman Makayla Martin didn't blink against the post-season's hottest pitcher. Martin matched her pitch for pitch, allowing two unearned runs in six nnings. Jade Rhodes produced Auburn's only run, a homer in the fourth.
Auburn's best season in school history ended with a 58-12 record. Oklahoma won it all with a 57-8 mark.
It was still an Auburn season that a second straight Southeastern Conference Tournament championship and a run all the way to the College World Series title game for the first time.
It was a season of 10 seniors who won a lot of games.
It was a World Series of memories, such as Victoria Draper's highlight diving catch in Sunday's win, Tiffany Howard's over-the-fence catch and Emily Carosone's walk-off grand slam to beat Oklahoma 11-7 in extra innings Tuesday night. Count Auburn's other dramatic comeback wins in Oklahoma City, too.
It was a season of the player they called "Turtle." Kelsey Bogaards spent months rehabbing her surgically-repaired right knee, then blew out her left knee in her second game back. Her teammates, and Auburn fans, rallied around her story, waiving toy turtles at games for all to see. There was also the comeback of Haley Fagan, who returned from knee surgery to make her first appearance of the season in the SEC Tournament, and then was a familiar face in the starting lineup.
It was Kasey Cooper being named SEC Player of the Year and Scholar Athlete of the Year. It was Carosone winning the team MVP honors, and, of course, her World Series grand slam. It was a new experience for Auburn. But it was delightful repeat for Auburn coach Clint Myers. He coached Arizona State to softball national championships in 2008 and 2011, not to mention his success at Central Arizona College where he won seven national titles in softball and baseball.
He brought his defense-first philosophy to Auburn, and the Tigers bought in. Auburn made its first trip to the College World Series last season in Myers' second year with the Tigers.
Auburn won it in Myers' third season.
Everything happened early Wednesday. Oklahoma scored two unearned runs in the first. Auburn had a chance to even the score, and maybe more, when it loaded the bases with no outs in the third. But Emily Carosone struck out and Carlee Wallace hit into a double play.