Paige Parker pitched a complete game and helped Oklahoma defeat Auburn 2-1 on Wednesday night for its third national softball title.
Parker, a graduate of Truman High School in Independence, retired the final 12 batters and finished 5-0 at the Women’s College World Series.
“It was one of the most fantastic feelings that I’ve ever had in my whole life,” Parker said. “Our fans this year have been so vital to all of the things that we’ve done. They’ve supported us so much, and to have all of them here and to have all of our families here as well just meant so much to us.”
Auburn’s Emily Carosone, the star of Tuesday’s comeback win with a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth, couldn’t follow it up.
In the bottom of the first, she committed an error on a grounder by Shay Knighten, and Caleigh Clifton scored for the Sooners when Carosone lost control of a throw to first. Knighten then scored on a slow-bouncing infield single by Fale Aviu.
Auburn, 58-12, loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Parker struck out Carosone, then the Sooners, 57-8, turned a double play to get out of the inning unscathed.
Jade Rhodes’ solo shot in the fourth made it 2-1, but Parker regained control.
Oklahoma won its first two titles in 2000 and 2013. The Southeastern Conference had won three of the previous four, with Oklahoma interrupting.
Oklahoma coach Patty Gasso was questioned about the decision to rest Parker during Game 2, when Auburn rallied from an early 7-0 deficit to beat the Sooners 11-7 in eight innings. Parker was the winner in Game 1, a 3-2 decision, and Gasso felt it would have been unfair to Parker to start her Tuesday.
Parker came back refreshed. She threw 107 pitches, struck out five and walked one.
Gasso said Parker told her Wednesday morning that she was at about 75 percent.
“When you add adrenaline in that, you probably get to 85 to 90 percent, and that would give us a chance to win a championship,” Gasso said. “Thank you, Paige, for filling your gas tank.”
Auburn, which was seeking its first national title, snapped Oklahoma’s 31-game win streak on Tuesday to force Game 3.