By JASON ELMQUIST
STILLWATER — Rich Wieligman just wanted a win heading into Big 12 Conference play this weekend, whether it was ugly or not.
The Oklahoma State softball squad got that win, and it was ugly.
“Be careful what you wish for, right?” said Wieligman after the 12-8 victory over Central Arkansas that included a combined 10 errors. “We’ve played better defense.”
Oklahoma State’s issues came on the infield, with all four errors being issued on misplayed grounders up the middle. Despite that, Central Arkansas managed just one run through the first three innings — scoring in the first inning after the first error.
Tarah Ettinger put the Lady Pokes on the board with a two-run shot to left in the bottom of the third, which plated Ari Morrison, who had reached on an error.
The blast gave a boost to the Cowgirls, who scored in every inning the rest of the game.
“It got me pumped, and I was just like ‘Ok, now I have to get a hit,’” said Tiffany Mikkelson, who went 3 for 3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. “It opens up everything because once somebody gets a hit it’s contagious.”
Central Arkansas also used the wind out to left in the top of the fourth with Sam Forrest, UCA’s leadoff hitter, connected for a grand slam — her fifth home run of the year — to put the Bears back in front 5-3.
“When you’re sitting there looking and the score’s 7-5 and they had like two hits — that was them taking advantage of every hit they got,” Wieligman said. “We only gave up one unearned run out of all those errors, which means our pitchers did a really good job of pitching around them.”
The Cowgirls regained the lead when miscues struck the Bears again in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded and two outs, freshman Whitney Whitehorn knocked a shot to right-center, and instead of the final out being recorded, the ball hit off the heal of the right fielder’s glove to score three.
“To me, that’s what we need to do as a team, is when teams make mistakes, we’ve got to take full advantage of them and make them pay for it,” Wieligman said. “And that’s what we did tonight and that was good to see because in the past I don’t think we’ve been able to take advantage.”
Oklahoma State scored another three runs in the bottom of the fifth, which proved to be needed. The Bears put up a three-spot off of relief pitcher Meagan Lively, who took over for Freeman in the top of the fifth.
But for the the fourth straight inning, OSU put a crooked number on the scoreboard, scoring two runs in the sixth — which was sparked by a leadoff double by Whitehorn and followed by UCA’s sixth error.
In all, only five of Oklahoma State’s runs were earned, though the Cowgirls did spray the ball around the park with 15 hits.