Every game has seemed to have a theme of come backs for Auburn in this year's NCAA Tournament. From early in the Regional, to falling down a game in the Super Regional, to the UGA game, the near come-back by FSU, and then last night's near come-back.
Tonight, early, it looked as if this game would be a bit too much for the Tigers to fight back from. Oklahoma took an early 1-0 lead in the 1st, and then blew the doors open in the Top 2nd scoring 6 runs thanks to home runs and sacrifice bunts. With the score 7-0, it looked like Oklahoma was set to cruise to the National Title.
A funny thing happened, though. Auburn forgot they were supposed to roll over and play dead. That's what dogs do. Not cats. Certainly not Big Cats.
With 2 outs in the Bottom 2nd, Auburn started a rally. Whitney Jordan hit a 3-run home run. A Tiffany Howard triple scored one more, and then Kasey Cooper drove in another run and suddenly the score was a much more manageable 7-5.
Rachel Walters came on during that big 2nd inning for Auburn and really settled Auburn down, not allowing the Sooners to threaten again for quite some time. Then, in the Bottom 4th with Auburn still down by two, Tiffany Howard beat out an infield hit and Kasey Cooper stepped to the plate. The Oklahoma pitcher hung one over the plate and Cooper did what Cooper does.
THIS. Kasey Cooper's TWO-RUN SHOT for @Auburn_Softball TIED it 7-7! #WCWS pic.twitter.com/gwmwz2HBJX— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) June 8, 2016
Oklahoma put something together in the Top 6th, getting a runner aboard. Rachel Walters threw Shay Knighten one of her few bad pitches and Knighten looked to have put the Sooners back on top by 2 runs. Tiffany Howard had other ideas, though.
Tiffany Howard has got ups. Robs a 2-run HR to keep it tied. https://t.co/LPlicqUumE— James Crepea (@JamesCrepea) June 8, 2016
Victoria Draper's catch against Florida State was amazing. Athletically, it was probably the more impressive catch, though this one was unbelievable in its own right. Howard's, though, may have been the most clutch. Howard climbed the ladder at just the right moment and absolutely robbed Oklahoma of the lead in an elimination game.
Auburn put runners aboard in the Bottom 6th, but couldn't do anything with it. Oklahoma put a runner on in the Top 7th, but also couldn't do anything with it. Nor could Auburn in the Bottom 7th.
Auburn shut Oklahoma down in the Top 8th and went into the Bottom 8th hoping to pull it out. What happened next was amazing.
With the first batter in the Bottom 8th it looked like more of the same. Then Victoria Draper beat out a throw on an in-field single. Tiffany Howard followed with a hit. Oklahoma walked Kasey Cooper. With one out and needing just one run to extend the series, the Oklahoma pitcher put the ball right where Emily Carosone wanted it.
She walked it off with a Grand Slam. 11-7. We'll see you tomorrow night.
This is the very definition of an Instant Classic. What an amazing game.
HOLY #$%$^@$^%@# Y'ALL!!!! WHAT A COME-BACK!!!! WHAT A GAME!!! WHAT A TEAM!!!! WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!