Freshmen Aycock, Wark give Cowgirls a spark
OSU SOFTBALL REWIND
STILLWATER — Oklahoma State passed its biggest test to this point of the young softball season, taking two of three games from fifth-ranked Florida State over the weekend at Cowgirl Stadium.
The second-ranked Cowgirls reached the 20-win mark and are now 7-1 against ranked opponents this season, with another (No. 22 Arizona State) set to come to Stillwater this week.
After a midweek road trip, they're set to host the OSU Mizuno Classic.
Here's a look at what we learned about the Cowgirls over the weekend.
The most noticeable characteristic in Kelly Maxwell's rare struggles this season has been her walk rate.
She has only allowed more than three runs in two of her 10 appearances, totaling 12 free passes in 10 1⁄3 innings.
Maxwell walked five in 5 1⁄3 innings pitched in the 7-5 loss to Florida State to open the three-game series.
In her other eight appearances, she has walked just 10 batters over 38 innings.
Maxwell bounced back with a scoreless inning to earn the save in Sunday's 3-2 victory, and for the season, her numbers remain strong. She has a 2.17 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 48 1⁄ innings
Freshmen shine again
This freshman class is quickly making its mark on Cowgirl softball, and a couple of them were key in rebounding to take the final two games of the series.
Most importantly was pitcher Kyra Aycock, who went the distance in the 9-1 run-rule victory on Saturday. She allowed a run on two hits and no walks with five strikeouts, needing just 62 pitches to get through five innings.
Redshirt freshman Micaela Wark drove in three runs in that game and four for the weekend, giving her 24 for the season, second-most on the team.
If you're looking for Rachel Becker, check the basepaths. The super-senior transfer from Purdue leads OSU with a .534 batting average through 22 games, but more impressive is her on-base percentage of .654, which is the best in the country.
She has reached base at least once in every game she has played as a Cowgirl, hitting safely in 20 of them and drawing at least one walk in the other two. She also had an 18-game hitting streak that snapped on Friday.
For the season, the second baseman has 80 plate appearances with 31 hits (eight doubles, two triples), two sacrifices, 19 walks and one hit-by-pitch. She has struck out just six times and is a team-best 5 for 5 in stolen bases.