Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 11, 2013

OU softball beats Cowgirls again

NORMAN — In Friday’s Bedlam softball series opener, the Oklahoma State Cowgirls’ defensive mistakes helped lead to a Sooner rout. Saturday in Norman, the Cowgirls shored those issues up but weren’t able to get key hits in a 4-0 loss.

The victory not only clinched the Bedlam series for the Sooners for the third consecutive season, Oklahoma won the Big 12 championship and was presented with both trophies after the game.

Starting pitcher Kat Espinosa, who was tagged for seven runs on Friday, only gave up four and struck out six. Espinosa said the defense was much improved and increased her confidence about Sunday’s game.

“I feel like we all played really well,” Espinosa said. “I feel like we will definitely get them (on Sunday). We just got to keep playing like we are and fix a couple of mistakes here and there and we will be all right.”

Espinosa said she threw the same pitches she normally does but was able to keep Oklahoma off balance.

“I threw my drop curve and I really think it had an affect on them,” Espinosa said.

Wieligman thought Espinosa pitched a great game.

“She did a great job pitching in this environment,” Wieligman said. “I thought she did awesome. It’s unfortunate, those two plays (in left field). That’s the thing when you play this caliber of a team. You make those plays, it gives you a chance to beat them.”

The Sooners (46-4, 14-2) took advantage of a pair of missed plays by Oklahoma State senior left fielder Amy Graham. In the bottom of the first, Graham fell trying to get a hit by Shelby Pendley, resulting in a run-scoring double. Graham attempted to make a diving catch in the bottom of the fourth but missed the ball, allowing OU’s Lauren Chamberlain to record a two-run double to up the Sooners’ lead to 3-0. Graham recovered though, and threw out Chamberlain at third.

“She falls down on one and if she made the catch and makes the diving catch on the other, it’s a 1-0 game,” Wieligman said. “If we come up with a hit here and there we are right there.”

The Cowgirls (30-25, 6-11) didn’t record a hit until the top of the fourth, when Ari Morrison singled to Oklahoma’s pitcher Michelle Gascoigne. With two outs, Tiffany Mikkelson singled to move Morrison to third but that threat ended when Graham popped up to short. Oklahoma State threatened in the sixth with Morrison and senior Samantha Chrisman getting singles. Mikkelson struck out to end the threat.

Oklahoma started Gascoigne after starting Keilani Ricketts on Friday. In six innings, Gascoigne gave up four hits and struck out eight. Wieligman said he wasn’t surprised Oklahoma threw her since it was senior day, adding it took time for his team to adjust.

“We haven’t seen her at all in the four years,” Wieligman said. “We just had to figure out what she could do. I think the girls did a good job. We just didn’t get the hit when we got them on.”

The Cowgirls will hope to avoid the sweep when they close the series at noon Sunday in Cowgirl Stadium. It will be the last game for seniors Espinosa, Graham, Tamara Brown, Chrisman and Stephanie Brewer. Espinosa said all that’s on her mind is getting a win Sunday.

“It probably won’t hit me until I’m done playing softball,” Espinosa said. “Right now I’m focused on one pitch at a time, one inning at a time and one game at a time.”

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