STILLWATER — Kenny Gajewski on Monday read off a list of stats the Cowgirls rank in the Top 10 nationally in to his softball team.
Stats like how Oklahoma State ranks seventh nationally in batting average at .331. Or how the Cowgirls rank fifth in fielding percentage at .982. Or how they rank seventh in on-base percentage at .432. He wants to remind the Cowgirls that they are still an outstanding team despite having lost five straight games.
“Obviously it’s been a trying last couple weeks, but I’ve had a lot of time to think through it and dissect everything and hear everyone’s opinions,” Gajewski said Tuesday. “I think what it makes me feel is we’ve changed the outlook of what this program is like and what people think of it. It’s good. It’s healthy. It does hurt — I’m not gonna lie. It hurts to say that we’ve lost five in a row, but it’s supposed to.”
At 39-8 on the season now, the Cowgirls last win came April 15 against Iowa State. Since, OSU has dropped a game to Iowa State, dropped a game to Wichita State (the second time the Shockers have shocked the Cowgirls this season) and got swept by Texas in Austin in a three-game series. Before this stretch, the Cowgirls hadn’t lost multiple games in a row this season.
The Cowgirls have tallied just 1.4 runs a game during the losing streak all while leaving 41 runners on-base. The fact that the Cowgirls are getting the runners on gives reason to believe that this could just be a rough patch.
“I think it’s more of a pressing thing than it is anything else,” Gajewski said. “These guys are so elite that they think they can change it in their at-bat. Instead of just having a good at-bat, they’re gonna be like, ‘OK, get on my back. This at-bat, I’m gonna change the whole thing.’ And you’re not. That just puts more pressure and adds more pressure to these guys. They press and don’t execute the way we want to because they’ve got too many other things, too many ancillary things pulling at them that they’re not able to be 100% focused like they need to be to be good.”
Another reason to believe the Cowgirls can pull out of it is that OSU went on a similar stretch at the end of the 2022 regular season. OSU concluded regular season play with five straight losses (two to Florida State and three to OU) before the Cowgirls went on to win the Big 12 Tournament and make the semifinals at the Women’s College World Series.
The Cowgirls head to Lubbock this weekend for a three-game series against Texas Tech. It’s a Red Raider team that hits the ball well. Tech is second in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma in slugging percentage and the 300 runs Tech has scored this season trail only OU and Texas in the conference.
The Cowgirls enter the series ranked anywhere from seventh to ninth in the national polls. Through this tough stretch of form, Gajewski said what matters is being in the top eight after the Big 12 Tournament so that OSU could host a Regional and Super Regional, meaning their path to another WCWS would run through Cowgirl Stadium.
“We’re trying to be in the top eight when the Big 12 Tournament is done,” Gajewski said. “That hasn’t changed. Do we want to win the regular season, a conference championship in the tournament? Hell yeah. We want to win that, but I will trade all of that to be in the top eight to host here because I know how special this place is.”