Cowgirls beat Cyclones
Oklahoma State downed Iowa State 5-1 on Saturday to take fifth place in the Big 12 softball championship.
Fifth place in the Big 12 softball championship clearly wasn’t what Oklahoma State set out to achieve after recording their highest regular-season finish in the conference in nearly two decades.
But after a frustrating Friday, the Cowgirls had to make the best of what was before them Saturday at ASA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium.
After a slow start, the Cowgirls found their spark and put away Iowa State 5-1 in the fifth-place game, giving themselves some muchneeded positive momentum heading next week’s NCAA regionals.
“Obviously, the Big 12 tournament didn’t end up the way we wanted it to be, but I think ending with a good win, getting our bats live again and our pitchers throwing pretty well is a good way to go into the NCAA Tournament,” said OSU second baseman Madi Sui Montgomery, who played a key role in livening up the Cowgirl bats.
Montgomery ripped a two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning, her 15th of the year, setting the OSU single-season record — an achievement she’ll likely reflect on with more significance later.
“I’m trying not to focus on that, just keep hitting the ball,” she said. “But I think it’ll be cool to say that one day.”
OSU’s Vanessa Shippy had a pair of hits, raising her batting average to .463 for the season, and Whitney Whitehorn added two, including her fifth double of the season. OSU finished with eight hits as a team and struck out only once.
“I think this was a really good game for us to build on,” Whitehorn said. “We really needed it. For us, we needed to play well, and this was a game to build on and go straight into the NCAA Tournament.”
If nothing else, it got the bad taste of Friday’s play — a 7-1 loss to Baylor and a 7-6 win over Texas Tech that OSU nearly let slip away — out of the Cowgirls’ mouths.
“I’m a little more pleased with the way we came out,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. “Our energy was way better. I challenged our team last night. Didn’t yell and scream, just challenged them about what we really want, and who we are, and what the standards are here.
The standards have changed.
“We needed this. We needed to play a more complete game. I thought we pitched OK. I thought we had some really good at-bats. We did some team offensive stuff that maybe doesn’t show in the box score.”
Emmie Robertson gave up a leadoff home run in the top of the first inning, but allowed only two more hits over four innings to earn the win. Samantha Clakley got the save with three innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and striking out two.
Now the Cowgirls turn their attention to the NCAA regional pairings, which will be announced at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2. OSU is out of the running for a host berth, but could be in line for a favorable spot as a regional No. 2 seed.
“Now we get some time off,” Gajewski said. “We’ll find out where we’re headed to, and we’ll find out what that brings.”