The freezing cold wind had no effect on Oklahoma State’s bats Saturday afternoon; it seemed to just heat them up more.
The Cowgirls earned two fifth-inning run-rules with a 12-2 victory against McNeese State and a 12-0 shutout of Northern Iowa at Cowgirl Stadium.
Weather conditions haven’t been ideal for OSU’s first few home games in the OSU Invitational, but the players in orange and black have persevered and are the better for it.
Against McNeese State, OSU (14-5) got started early with a two-run homer from senior pitcher Samantha Show, who set the tone for the rest of the day.
Show, who started in the circle against McNeese, was unstoppable on defense and at the plate. After a less than stellar performance offensively Friday, she came in with something to prove Saturday.
“What I love about that kid is she showed up here about 8:30 with Coach Jeff (Cottrill), kind of pissed off and hit and got some extra work in and it showed, right away,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. “It is kind of cool to watch a mature kid and she wears everything right here and every at-bat matters to that kid.”
The East Bernard, Texas, native had quite the day, especially against McNeese as she went 2 for 2 with two runs, five RBIs and two walks, as well as striking out seven in the circle.
Against the Panthers, she had another perfect outing at the plate, going 1 for 1 with two runs and an RBI.
Show said days like Saturday are what she believes is possible when she is playing at her absolute best.
“This is what I expect of myself. Going out and producing for my team is what I am here to do,” Show said. “Getting them on and off the field as fast as possible. Just knowing when I am in the box or in the circle to have the rest of my team behind me, wanting me to do good in the circle is all I can ask for.”
Show said her performance at the plate Friday was just an anomaly and as the season goes on, she expects not only her play at the plate to become more consistent, but also her teammates’.
“It is just feeling confident and comfortable where I am at,” Show said. “Yesterday just wasn’t my day and everybody has those days. We are human and not perfect, but that is what the team is for.”
Show wasn’t the lone one to have a huge day at the plate as Chyenne Factor picked up where she left off Friday. The freshman utility player from Yukon was a star in the fall, but suffering ankle sprains on both legs within a week of each other during the offseason sidelined her for a bit.
Saturday, she earned her third and fourth starts of the season – both in the outfield – and made the most of it, crossing the plate four times.
“She is a cornerstone piece here,” Gajewski said. “Her and Kiley (Naomi), some of these young kids that are playing a lot. Our lineup is interesting how we got some seniors and a lot of young kids, it is an interesting mix. We count on those two kids there. We have a lot of kids here that are young and getting quality at-bats. Chy is a professional hitter. When she gets going, it is fun.”
Factor went 4 for 5 at the plate Saturday, including getting a home run against McNeese (8-12).
“It felt good, finally,” Factor said. “These past couple of weeks have been rough, and I have been pinch hitting and gotten one hit here and there. To finally start hitting like that, it’s good.”
Other players to hit the long ball Saturday were Naomi, Michaela Richbourg, Sydney Pennington and Madi Sue Montgomery. Richbourg and Mongtomery both hit their fourth homers on the young season.
Rylee Bayless drew three walks and had a sacrifice fly with junior college transfer Shalee Brantley going 4 for 5 on the day with three runs.
Gajewski said he was not only proud of what his team did offensively, but defensively he felt his team has began to play more cleanly.
“I think for the most part, we had a couple of clean games,” Gajewski said. “Still could make some more plays. We are making better plays at third as Sydney is starting to really play well at third. Sue is steady Eddie. Kiley is settling in some. She is starting to lead with her voice, too. I am happy with that part of it. We’re not where we got to be to win any championship. We are going to have to keep playing really, really well.”
In the second game, Samantha Clakley earned the start and pitched four solid innings with Gabby Sprang coming in in relief. Gajewski said he is liking what he sees from Clakley in the circle early this season.
“She is a kid that she is not forgotten,” Gajewski said. “She kind of hasn’t got as many opportunities yet. They will come and she knows that. I thought she threw the ball very well. She is a kid in the cold that it is tough on her and her hands aren’t huge. I am happy with how she came out and performed.”
With the win against the Panthers (7-7), OSU is off to its best record through 19 games since 2011, when it last went to the Women’s College World Series. Although time will tell if this squad can make it, Gajewski appreciates getting in as many games as he can to prepare them for a hopeful trip to Oklahoma City in June.
Next on the schedule is finishing the OSU Invitational against UNI at noon Sunday before heading to Wichita State on Tuesday and up to Oregon over the weekend.
“Hopefully, the weather guys have missed the forecast some,” Gajewski said. “I will have my fingers crossed we can get some more games in and get some work.”