By Jason Elmquist
Stillwater News Press
STILLWATER, Okla. —
A good old-fashioned pitcher's dual broke out Wednesday at the Cowgirl Softball Stadium.
With Tulsa sporting one of the country's best pitchers in Aimee Creger, Oklahoma State got a gem of a game from its own senior ace Simone Freeman.
And it was Freeman that gave up the only extra base hit of the game, which led to a 1-0 victory for the 16th-ranked Golden Hurricane.
“That was a good game. It was a good, old-fashioned softball game,” Cowgirl coach Rich Wieligman said. “That’s what the game was built on, two good pitchers going at it and they just happen to the get the big two-out hit that scores the run.”
Despite allowing several runners on base throughout the early innings, Freeman got plenty of support from her defense — especially when she found herself in a sticky situation in the second inning.
With Freeman walking back-to-back batters with one out, center fielder Shelby Davis made a diving catch — pinning the ball against her body to prevent it from rolling out of her glove — and second baseman Ari Morrison fielded an awkward hop to get the Cowgirls out of the inning.
“Davis going after that ball and getting it was big. She sold out, and I was glad to see her sell out, make the catch and then finish the play,” Wieligman said. “A lot of times you get kids that will dive and never finish the play, but it was good to see her finish and keep the runners right there. I just thought our defense was outstanding tonight.”
On the flip side, Tulsa's defense committed two errors, but Creger — who finished with 11 strikeouts and improved to 22-1 on the year — worked her way out of it each time to prevent OSU (24-21, 4-9 in Big 12) from making any damage.
The first solid hit of the night came from Tulsa’s Julie Kernen, who ripped a double to center in the top of the sixth. The hit proved to be enough as the Golden Hurricane got a two-out hit to center fielder — that was bobbled by Davis — to allow the runner to score standing up.
With TU (42-5) giving Creger the lead late, the nation’s leader in strikeouts shutdown the Cowgirls in their final two trips to the plate — though OSU made it a little interesting in the seventh.
Tarrah Ettinger tried to tie the contest to leadoff the bottom of the seventh, but her shot to straight-away center was tracked down at the wall. Shianne Hughes, whose sister Cierra Hughes is Tulsa's starting center fielder, gave OSU a runner by legging out an infield single that barely made it past the pitcher's rubber, but Creger retired the next two batters to end the contest.
Oklahoma State will travel to Texas this weekend for a three-game series against the Longhorns (27-18, 7-3 in Big 12), who are second in the Big 12 standings.
“We’ve been playing this way all year — we're right there, we’ve just got to get over the hump,” Wieligman said. “I like how we played tonight, I think going into Texas we’re ready to go.”