By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
After a night’s rest to wait to finish an extra-inning game against Texas Tech, the Oklahoma State University softball squad clinched a series win by claiming the second and third games against the Lady Raiders on Saturday.
The Cowgirls (24-14, 2-1 Big 12) won the second game 2-1 in the bottom of the 10th inning — after stranding two in the ninth when play resumed after a weather postponement Friday.
Gessenia DeLaCruz led off with a single to right and was sacrificed to second by Tamara Brown. An infield groundout by Shannon Kaufman advanced DeLaCruz to third and Tarah Ettinger plated the winning run on a single up the middle.
OSU carried the momentum over to the series finale for a 4-1 win.
“Coming back the next day having slept on it all night ... and to win the game and not allow them to grab the momentum — we kept it — I thought was huge,” OSU coach Rich Wieligman said. “It was big that we could hold them down until we could score.”
The Lady Raiders (27-14, 1-2) took the lead in the top of the fourth, thanks to the leadoff hitter reaching on a fielding error. But the lead was short-lived as the Cowgirls put together a four-run rally.
Amy Graham tied the game with one swing of the bat with a home run to left field to spark the rally.
“They took the lead on us and for her to come in and respond with that at-bat, that took the air right out of their sails and whatever momentum they had,” Wieligman said. “In our game, that’s what you’ve got to do. We’re always talking about momentum and our game is so fast-paced that if you lose it, a lot of times it’s hard to get back. With Amy, that was big.”
Keying the reversal of Thursday’s 10-0 loss to Texas Tech was the improved pitching performance of Kat Espinosa and Simone Freeman.
In the delayed, extra-inning second game, the pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts — seven by Espinosa in six innings of work, and Freeman recording 10 of her 12 outs by Ks to earn the victory in the circle. In the finale, the duo gave up an unearned run on three hits and four walks. Espinosa pitched the final five innings to pick up the win.
“Kat was Kat. That wasn’t indicative of Kat on Thursday,” Wieligman said. “Pitchers have bad days, they are just like everybody else. Unfortunately when they have a bad game it’s magnified. ... But she’s tough, she’s a senior and has been through the wars before. She bounced back, which we’ve seen of her before.”
The Cowgirls will now turn their attention to the road with a Wednesday matchup at Wichita State before traveling to Ames, Iowa, for a weekend series with Iowa State.