The place to be is in OKC on Friday night.
For the first time in Bedlam softball history, both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will square off in the Women’s College World Series.
The Cowgirls beat Florida, 2-1, Thursday night before the Sooners knocked off Alabama, 3-2, to set up the biggest game in the historic rivalry series.
OSU coach Kenny Gajewski knows the No. 13 Cowgirls (45-15) haven’t had great history against the Sooners since OU’s Patty Gasso took over more than two decades ago. OSU hasn’t won a game in the series since April 27, 2011.
However, since Gajewski took over in the 2016 season, the Cowgirls have been bridging the gap and he thinks Friday night could be when it all comes together if his team plays its best softball yet.
“It’s incredible. I think it is a great night for college softball and just happy that we are a part of it,” Gajewski said in a phone interview Friday morning. “It puts us on the national stage again in prime time against the best team in the country. I don’t think anybody can dispute that. Our girls have known we were 0-3 against them in the regular season. We were hoping to get to play them in the Big 12 Tournament Championship that we earned a spot into and rain took it away. I don’t know how that turns out. We just want to keep playing them because they make us better. It is hard to say when you get beat. But we always learn. This is another, what we call, a laboratory experiment for us. We had three of those this year, but I just can’t wait to play.”
The two squads will square off at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium, following the first winner’s bracket game between No. 2 UCLA and No. 6 Arizona at 6 p.m.
Gajewski said the stadium should have a record attendance for the event as the session involving the Cowgirls and Gators as well with the Sooners and Crimson Tide on Thursday night had 9, 290 in attendance.
“I think it is going to be busting at the seams here tonight,” Gajewski said. “I don’t know that there is any disputing that. This is probably the hottest ticket in World Series history. It’s not because of us, partly it is, but the majority is it’s OU against OSU. It’s Bedlam in OKC at the Mecca of college softball. It is on primetime and if you are going to be somewhere, this is the event you want to be at this evening.”
Should the Cowgirls beat the No. 1 Sooners (55-3), then it would advance to play Sunday and be just one win away from the championship series. If OSU loses, then it will battle Saturday and Sunday to attempt to get another shot as the WCWS is a double elimination format.
The Cowgirls have never won a national championship in softball; OSU hasn’t won an NCAA title in a women’s sport at all. Gajewski knows if it were to happen this year with this special group, then the Cowgirls will have to win Bedlam.
“We have nothing to lose, we really don’t,” Gajewski said. “They are the marquee team and the ones that are supposed to be here. We have been telling our kids since day one that if you want to get to where you want to get and that’s playing in and winning the last game, then you are most likely going to have to go through OU so here we are. We are in that spot now and going to have to play our best game of the entire year.”