May 29—Oklahoma State accomplished a rare feat Friday evening at Cowgirl Stadium.
It won a Super Regional softball game by hitting only one single.
Just one single, to go along with two doubles and four home runs as the Cowgirls’ bats were charged for game one of the three-game super regional with conference foe Texas.
OSU punished pitches throughout the contest, winning 6-1. The victory improved the Cowgirls’ season record to 5-0 over the Longhorns.
“Tomorrow is the most important game of the whole year, like today was when I told them that before this game,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. “It’s just one game at at time. I’m glad we could put on that home run show, but we’ve got to come out tomorrow and take care of business and just have quality at-bats.”
Friday’s victory was all about the long ball, as the Cowgirls hit four home runs — none of which drove in more than two runs. The home run party started in the first inning.
After Chyenne Factor was hit by a pitch, Alysen Febrey fell behind in her count at the plate. On a 2-2 pitch, she drilled the ball to straight-away center field. The two-run home run bounced off the batter’s eye, giving her team an early lead.
“She started me off throwing a lot of change-ups,” Febrey said. “I got behind two strikes and I actually went to no stride, which is a drill I do every day in practice. I was looking for a change-up, because I knew she’d probably throw me again, and she decided to go hard. It was pretty over the plate, so I just went for it.”
In the fourth inning, Febrey made the Longhorns pay again. She drove the first pitch out of the park for a leadoff, solo home run.
Febrey said she expected the first pitch to come inside after hitting a home run earlier in the game, and when it came inside, she took advantage. She was happy to give the home fans something to celebrate.
“It was awesome. That’s what they come for,” Febrey said. “They love to see it. I never go up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I just try to get a pitch I can hit hard, and I mean, it just went out. The fans love to see that, so it’s awesome to be able to do that for them.”
Her solo shot tied Hayley Busby’s mark of 18 home runs, which leads the team. That tie wouldn’t stay long — just three pitches.
Busby crushed the 0-2 pitch well over the left-center field wall. The ball bounced twice before rolling across McElroy Road. Busby is one home run shy of tying Samantha Show’s season record of 20, which was set in 2019.
The fourth and final home run came in the sixth inning. Karli Petty gave the Cowgirls some insurance with a two-run blast to right field. It was her eighth home run of the season.
This year’s team broke the school record for home runs in a season of 82 that was set two years ago, which broke the 2018 record of 62. The 2021 team has 90 home runs through 54 games with at least two more guaranteed.
The lone single in the game was inches from being a solo home run for Sydney Pennington, who set the OSU career home run record last week. She drilled a line drive toward the left field foul pole that bounced off the wall, just inches short of clearing it and becoming the Cowgirls’ third-straight home run.
It was possibly the hardest hit ball of the day, but was only worth a single. Pennington also hit a double on the day. The other none home run hit of the game for OSU was a double by Avery Hobson, who hit a hard chopping ground ball off the glove of Texas third baseman Camille Corona. The ball rolled to the foul pole and Hobson advanced to second on the play.
Meanwhile, Texas didn’t record a single extra-base hit in the loss. The Longhorns had five hits off OSU pitcher Carrie Eberle, but all were singles.
Texas only advanced past first base three times — two of those came from Shannon Rhodes on a first-inning single and a sixth-inning fielder’s choice. The Longhorns’ only run came in the first inning on back-to-back singles and back-to-back sacrifice bunts.
It didn’t last last long. Just three OSU batters, in fact. Febrey’s first home run of the night gave the Cowgirls a lead they never gave up. It led to another win over Texas, and becoming one win shy of a trip to the Women’s College World Series for the second-straight full season.
“Whenever other teams score, we seem to be able to answer back,” Gajewski said. “When we answered back, I just looked at Jeff (Cottrill) and I said, ‘Oh man, these girls are still locked in.’ You just don’t know after a week of not playing and getting back at it. This place is electric. It’s just nuts.
“I knew it when I walked out here today and there were people here three-and-a-half hours beforehand. These people are crazy about this tend this sport. I’m really happy for our kids. I thought they played very well. They stayed locked in, stayed very normal and this thing is a long way from being done, but it feels good to win the first game.”