Stillwater News Press

Sports

May 4, 2013

Cowgirls edge Lady Longhorns to claim series

STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State rode a big blast in the bottom of the first by Tarah Ettinger, along with another solid pitching performance for a 2-1 victory over sixth-ranked Texas — which clinched the series win — Saturday at Cowgirl Softball Stadium.

The Cowgirls jumped on the board in the bottom of the first with a no-doubter off the bat of Ettinger that cleared the left field fence for a two-run home run — despite a strong wind blowing in from left — which plated Ari Morrison, who had reached on a walk.

“I’d been looking for that pitch all series and I fouled it off a couple times and just really saw it that time and kind of swung hard,” Ettinger said. “I was kind of nervous because I was trying to go right-center because that’s where the wind was blowing, but inside is my pitch.”

Though the shot looked like it would clear the fence by a long shot right off the bat, the wind — which was gusting up to 20 mph throughout the game — gave some concern as Texas left fielder still went back to the wall just in case the wind knocked it down.

“It was dead into the wind and she just hit it square. It was a real good swing,” said OSU coach Rich Wieligman, whose squad picked up its 30th win with Saturday’s victory.

Texas responded in the top of the second against Cowgirl starting pitcher Simone Freeman to cut OSU’s lead in half. UT catcher Mandy Ogle led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a groundout to the pitcher. A two-out single to center by Erin Shireman — who fought off several pitches with a 1-2 count — allowed Ogle to score.

Wieligman sent Simone back out in the third, but with the Longhorns threatening again with a single and a hit batter — both coming with two outs — Kat Espinosa was called in to record the final out of the inning.

“We really wanted to get (Freeman) through the lineup one time then bring in Kat just to try to minimize the pitches Kat can throw,” Wieligman said. “We could tell she was starting to lose her rhythm out there, so we felt it was time.”

Espinosa would go the final 4 1/3 and give up just two hits and a walk while striking out seven — a day after striking out nine in an extra-inning victory — to pick up her second win of the weekend. Espinosa has pitched 13 1/3 innings of shutout ball against a Texas team which came in averaging more than six runs per game.

“Sim did a great job in the beginning of this game in holding them down for a couple of innings and kind of giving them a different look,” Ettinger said. “And obviously Kat just came in and shut them down again. She’s doing a great job for us. She’s really keeping us in these games.”

Oklahoma State (30-22, 6-8 in Big 12) will go for the sweep of the Longhorns Sunday with a 12:05 p.m. start time. The game will be televised on ESPN (Suddenlink channel 31).

“This is a huge confidence booster and everybody is feeling really good about themselves now,” Ettinger said. “That’s just going to help us going forward and hopefully we can finish this sweep. That would be awesome.”

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