Ok­la­homa State holds grad­u­a­tion for se­niors on back field

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - SCOTT WRIGHT AND BROOKE PRYOR, STAFF WRIT­ERS

About the time the first pitch of Sat­ur­day’s third­place game be­tween Texas and Texas Tech was be­ing thrown, Ok­la­homa State’s se­nior soft­ball play­ers were lin­ing up in the out­field on one of the back fields at the Hall of Fame Sta­dium Com­plex.

While all the other se­niors at Ok­la­homa State went through their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony Sat­ur­day morn­ing, the soft­ball team was al­ready in Ok­la­homa City, pre­par­ing for the fifth-place game of the Big 12 Cham­pi­onships against Iowa State.

Sur­rounded by fam­ily and team­mates, the OSU se­niors got to hold their own grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony.

“Grad­u­a­tions are bor­ing any­way,” OSU coach Kenny Ga­jew­ski said with a laugh. “We run them through a cap-and-gown deal, spray them with Silly String.

“When you play a spring sport, you miss grad­u­a­tion if your team’s good. And we plan on be­ing good. I told them that the first day here, be­cause we’re gonna be play­ing.”

Pend­ley wins Big 12 Cham­pi­onship Most Out­stand­ing Player

With five RBI in OU’s 6-4 ti­tle win against Bay­lor, se­nior cen­ter fielder Ni­cole Pend­ley won the Big 12 Cham­pi­onships’ Most Out­stand­ing Player.

She smacked a two RBI dou­ble to right cen­ter field on the first pitch she saw in the first in­ning to plate Jo­ce­lyn Alo and Shay Knighten.

And in her sec­ond at bat, Pend­ley blasted a three­run home run just over the cen­ter field wall to bring

Alo and Knighten home yet again.

“She looks a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent,” coach Patty Gasso said. “I don’t know if it’s post­sea­son. She al­ways seems to shine. Good solid con­tact and it’s go­ing to all fields, which is a good sign. I’m re­ally proud of her as a se­nior to walk away with this honor.”

Gasso con­fi­dent ahead of Se­lec­tion Sun­day

With Ok­la­homa (50-3) at No. 3 in the RPI, Gasso isn’t feel­ing much stress be­fore the NCAA Se­lec­tion Show. Hold­ing to tra­di­tion, the team will gather at her house to watch the show Sun­day night (9 p.m., ESPN2).

“If we are not in the top-5, I would be ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed,” she said. “And I’ll say that pub­licly be­cause this team has lost three games and done ev­ery­thing close to right.

“It’s not that we’re play­ing an easy con­fer­ence play. We’ve got OSU, Texas, Bay­lor, all in the top-40 in RPI. We went out to Ore­gon. We did what we had to do to. Beat a good South Carolina team twice. It’s so out of our hands, but I do be­lieve we’re a top-5 seed team.”

A year ago, OU was fight­ing to be a top-8 seed to earn the right to host a re­gional and su­per re­gional. The Soon­ers were ul­ti­mately a No. 10 seed.

Cow­girls host­ing se­lec­tion show watch party

With Big 12 cham­pi­onship week­end be­hind them, the Ok­la­homa State Cow­girls now must sit and wait to learn their NCAA Tour­na­ment des­ti­na­tion.

The Cow­girls will host a public watch party for the se­lec­tion show. It will be held in the var­sity room on the sec­ond floor of Gal­lagher-Iba Arena.

At 38-20, this is OSU’s most suc­cess­ful sea­son since 2011, and the Cow­girls are seek­ing their third straight NCAA Tour­na­ment berth un­der Ga­jew­ski. The last time OSU made three straight NCAA Tour­na­ment ap­pear­ances was 2009-11, which ended with the pro­gram’s sev­enth ap­pear­ance in the Women’s Col­lege World Se­ries.

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