Tahlequah Daily Press

March 26, 2014

Central Arkansas on tap before OSU starts Big 12 softball play

By JASON ELMQUIST
CNHI

— The Oklahoma State softball squad will get one last chance to tune up before the Big 12 Conference season starts this weekend with a three-game series at Kansas.

The Cowgirls will welcome Central Arkansas to the Cowgirl Softball Stadium for a 5 p.m. contest Wednesday.

“We just need a W. I think you always want to start out with a win,” OSU coach Rich Wieligman said. “You want to win, no matter how ugly or how bad, and then you can go from there. We need to play well and feel good about ourselves. We can’t look past them to get ready for the weekend.”

Oklahoma State (18-11) is 3-0 all-time against Central Arkansas (14-20). The Cowgirls last defeated the Bears, 3-0, in the first game of the season in Baton Rouge, La., at the Tiger Classic.

The Cowgirls are coming off a weather-shortened trip to Columbia, Mo., where they went 1-1 — an 8-2 rout of UMKC and a near-miss against No. 18 Missouri, 8-2.

“We beat UMKC like we were supposed to — we scored seven runs in the first two innings and really set the tone and got (Simone Freeman) out and got some innings for Megan Lively,” Wieligman said. “... Then the way we played against Missouri. We’ve played well against high-ranked teams all year, and we’re right there at the door. We’ve just got to knock that door down now.”

Though the contest is a non-conference game, Wieligman said he has no plans of giving his starters a game off with conference play just days away.

“There’s a fine line between keeping them fresh and overusing them. But I don’t want them to take a day off, necessarily,” the Cowgirl coach said. “I think they’ve got to stay sharp, mentally. I think that’s how you do that — you’ve got to play.”

That doesn’t mean Wieligman isn’t open to the possibility of getting some players a few innings off if his team takes an early lead.

“If we can get to that situation, I’m sure we’ll have something in place for that,” Wieligman said. “I’d love to get to that situation, but lets get there first.”