Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

Sooners win third softball crown

OKLAHOMA CITY — Paige Parker pitched a complete game to help Oklahoma defeat Auburn 2-1 Wednesday for its third softball national title.

Parker put the Tigers down in order in the seventh to improve to 5-0 at the Women's College World Series.

Auburn's Emily Carosone, the star of Tuesday's comeback win with a grand slam in 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 (57-8) when Carosone lost control of a throw to first. Knighten then scored on Fale Aviu's slow-bouncing infield single to make it 2-0.

Auburn (58-12) loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Parker struck out Carosone, then OU turned a double play.

Jade Rhodes' solo shot in the top of the fourth made it 2-1, but Parker regained control.

Oklahoma won titles in 2000 and 2013. The SEC had won three of the previous four, with the Sooners interrupting.

OU coach Patty Gasso was questioned about resting Parker in Game 2, when Auburn rallied from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Sooners 11-7 in eight. Parker won Game 1, a 3-2 decision, and Gasso felt it would've been unfair to Parker to start her Tuesday.

FOOTBALL: The Sun Belt's inaugural championship game in 2018 likely will be held at the homefield of one of the qualifying teams, league commissioner Karl Benson said. Still in question is the format for deciding the participants: The 10-team league could split into five-team divisions, or it could play a full round-robin schedule and have the teams with the top two conference records square off. Before Wednesday, the Sun Belt was the only Division I-A conference that either didn't already have a league title game or have one in the works.

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