Oklahoma City – Oklahoma State won its first Big 12 softball title by beating No. 1 Oklahoma, 4-3, in eight innings Saturday in the final round of the Big 12 Championship at Hall of Fame Stadium.
With the score tied at three in the top of the eighth, the No. 6/7 Cowgirls (41-12 overall) loaded the bases with nobody out, then took the lead when Kiley Naomi took a four-pitch walk from Nicole May. Morgan Day, who came on in relief in the fourth inning, shut down the Sooners down in the home half of the inning to seal the victory and set off a wild OSU celebration.
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The win marked Oklahoma State’s first conference title since the Cowgirls won the Big Eight regular season crown in 1995 and was the Cowgirls’ first time winning a conference tournament since OSU claimed the 1992 Big Eight crown.
It also marked the second straight year that the Cowgirls beat a No. The 1-ranked Oklahoma team and was the sixth win over the nation’s top-ranked team in program history.
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“This is another feather in our cap as a program,” head coach Kenny Gajewski said. “We just have to keep doing things we haven’t done before. We hadn’t won the Big 12 tournament, now we have. We need to keep winning and continuously build.”
Day, who was credited with wins over Texas in the semifinals and OU in the finals, was honored as the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament and was joined by Chelsea Alexander, Chyenne Factor and Kelly Maxwell on the all-tournament team.
“We’re so happy for Morgan,” Gajewski said. It goes to show if you are consistent in what you do and in how you prepare, good things will generally happen. Mo has done it the right way since the moment she arrived on campus. She embraced the Cowgirl way and has been all in and now she is getting everything she deserves. Good things happen to great people. “
Trailing, 2-0, in the fourth inning, OSU got on the board when Hayley Busby singled home Katelynn Carwile. Later in the inning, a sacrifice fly from Taylor Tuck on an 0-and-2 count scored Miranda Elish to tie it.
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The Cowgirls took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when a Factor bunt single moved Alexander to third base. Factor didn’t stop at first and got into a rundown between first and second that allowed Alexander to sprint home.
The Sooners (49-2 overall) answered in the bottom half of the inning with a Jocelyn Alo home run.
The win provides a final résumé boost for the Cowgirls, who entered the Big 12 Tournament ranked No. 7 in the NCAA’s RPI metric. The top eight national seeds have a chance to host both the regional and super regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament and beating the No. 1 team in the nation to win a conference title put the Cowgirls into a much more comfortable position going into tomorrow’s NCAA selection day.
“We are so thankful to our fans who traveled to OKC and showed up,” Gajewski said. “We were outnumbered but loud. Our girls felt it. It was really cool. Our program is gaining traction and we’re thankful.”