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Three Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 2-0 Win Over Kansas at the Big 12 Softball Championship

Big 12 Conference

In Game 2 of the Big 12 Softball Championship, Oklahoma State prevailed in hard fought 2-0 win over the Kansas Jayhawks.

This wasn’t an easy win for the Cowgirls, who started out cold, but finally got the offense going in the fifth by putting up the two runs they needed to come out on top.

The Cowgirls await the winner of (3) Texas vs. (6) Texas Tech, who play play at 6:00 P.M. to determine the final team in the semifinal matchups.

With that in mind, here are three things that stood out to me in Oklahoma State’s first round victory.

 

Oklahoma State’s Offense Sputters Out the Gate

One of the things that made the 2021 Cowgirls so dangerous was their ability to score in bunches when they needed to. There have been stretches of good offense this season, but we haven’t seen much from them at the plate in the last month or so. Sure, the last two series of the season saw them face fantastic pitching staffs and defenses against Florida State and Oklahoma, but today it was against Kansas.

OSU was held scoreless through four innings, until head coach Kenny Gajewski switched up his tactics and started playing small ball to utilize the athleticism of his base runners. If the Cowgirls can’t find a way to get on the board more frequently, it could spell trouble in the next round.

Kelly Maxwell, Oklahoma State’s Defense are Elite

The 2022 Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Year was impressive again, collecting nine strikeouts and holding Kansas to a .154 batting average. Maxwell is as steady as they come, which is why the Pokes can afford to go quiet offensively at time. But I also noticed something else about Oklahoma State today, particularly in the infield: there’s not much that gets by them.

On multiple occasions I saw Sydney Pennington make fantastic grabs down the third base line, and Haley Busby dig throw after throw out of the dirt at first base to secure an out. Putting the ball out of play is about the only way to score runs on this team, but that is easier said than done.

The Streak is Over For OSU

Oklahoma State can finally breathe as their five game skid has come to an end. Two losses to Florida State and a three-game sweep at the hands of Oklahoma had this team in a bit of a tizzy, but they can put that behind them with the victory over Kansas. Now, they will need to turn around and start a winning streak tomorrow night against Texas or Texas Tech, but for now they can let out a sigh of relief. Now, the Cowgirls are one win away from reaching the 40-win mark on the season, and that win would also put them in the Big 12 Championship finals. Can they do it? We will have to wait until tomorrow and see.

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