Oklahoma State Cowboys

Why Oklahoma State Softball Can Win the WCWS in 2024

Syndication: The Oklahoman

The field for the 2024 Women’s College World Series is as wide open as most of us can remember, with all eight teams having a legitimate reason why they could end up being the last one standing next week.

There are favorites in the field, of course, as regulars like Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Stanford are all making their second or third appearance in the last three years.

However, teams like Duke—who is making its first-ever appearance—offer quite a bit of mystery and intrigue. Alabama and Florida are no strangers to Oklahoma City, but their up-and-down performances throughout the year make it hard to discern what versions of those squads we will see.

 

At their best, every one of these teams is worthy of hoisting a national championship trophy, but a single slip-up could cause them to be headed home early.

This field is going to be hard to predict, and there’s enough evidence to make a case for almost any of the teams remaining in the field. So, let’s look at the case for Oklahoma State.

Here are a few reasons why Oklahoma State can finally end the national championship drought after so much success in recent years.

Lexi Kilfoyl

The days of an elite arm carrying a team all the way to a WCWS title are fading, but they aren’t completely gone just yet. While teams around the country are starting to lean on a “staff” mentality, some programs have an absolute unit in their dugout that is nearly impossible to keep off the field. Oklahoma State’s Lexi Kilfoyl is a perfect example of that sort of player.

 

Kilfoyl ranks second among D-I pitchers with a 1.06 ERA, trailing only Stanford ace NiJaree Canady (0.65 ERA) for the top mark in the nation. She’s thrown 171.0 innings this year, including 17 complete games over 37 appearances. In that time, she’s amassed 146 strikeouts and is allowing an opponent batting average of just .172. She’s already thrown 28.0 innings this postseason and should see the vast majority of the action going forward. The USA Softball Player of the Year finalist is capable of taking this Pokes’ team deep if she gets any run support, and to this point in the postseason, that has yet to be a problem.

Power at the Plate

Oklahoma State’s team batting average of .312 puts them right outside the Top 25 nationally (No. 26), and is certainly more than respectable when compared to the rest of the WCWS field. However, the Pokes have done the majority of their damage via the deep ball, and that’s where things get interesting. OSU ranks eighth nationally in slugging (.566) and fifth nationally with 1.56 home runs per game.

Over the course of the NCAA Tournament, the Cowgirls have blasted 11 home runs, including six in their Super Regional win over Arizona. That’s a big reason why they’re averaging 6.8 runs per game–up from 5.58 runs per game heading into the tournament–during postseason play. Home runs are the great equalizer in Oklahoma City, and if OSU’s bats remain hot this week, it could propel them to new heights.

The Winning Blueprint

While most fans don’t consider Oklahoma State one of the “favorites” to win the WCWS title this year, the Pokes do have something in their pocket that the other teams in the field don’t. OSU is the only team in the country that has found a way to not only defeat both Oklahoma and Texas, but to win 2-of-3 against the nation’s top two seeds. Sure, some time has elapsed since those victories, and playing in OKC is a different animal, but if the Pokes matchup with either the Longhorns or the Sooners down the road, they’ve got all the tools in place to beat the juggernauts of this year’s field.

In fact, Oklahoma State’s success in 2024 extends beyond the teams they shared the Big 12 with. The Pokes have actually faced four of the other seven teams in this year’s WCWS field and compiled a 6-2 record against them altogether. Take a look.

  • Oklahoma State 9, UCLA 1 (Feb. 11)
  • Oklahoma State 3, Florida 0 (Feb. 19)
  • Oklahoma State 5, Texas 0 (Mar. 28)
  • Oklahoma State 1, Texas 2 (Mar. 29)
  • Oklahoma State 3, Texas 0 (Mar. 30)
  • Oklahoma State 6, Oklahoma 3 (May 3)
  • Oklahoma State 6, Oklahoma 2 (May 4)
  • Oklahoma State 2, Oklahoma 8 (May 5)

While they might not be the media darling that some of the other teams in the field are, there’s no reason to believe Oklahoma State can’t be one of the teams left standing in next week’s Championship Series. In fact, the data suggests that they’ve got as good a shot as anyone based on past results.

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