STILLWATER — The Cowgirls are one win away from a fourth straight Women’s College World Series.
Oklahoma State beat Oregon 8-1 on Thursday in Game 1 of the teams’ NCAA Super Regional. The Cowgirls need to win one in two games against the Ducks to advance to Oklahoma City.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead into the fourth Thursday before the Cowgirls’ bats got going.
Kiley Naomi crushed the first pitch she saw in the inning over the fence in left, her 12th home run of the year. That at-bat started a rally for the Cowgirls that saw Micaela Wark draw a full-count walk before a Katelynn Carwile double put runners on second and third with one out.
Morgyn Wynne then hit a ball back to Oregon pitcher Morgan Scott who tried to throw Wark out at home, but Scott’s throw pulled the catcher away from the plate and Wark scored. Freshman Tallen Edwards then narrowly looped a ball over the Oregon shortstop, allowing Carwile to score.
OSU put up another crooked number in the fifth, scoring four runs. Three of those runs came off a two-out home run from Wynne. Wynne put a ball on a rope over the left-field fence. It was her 10th round-tripper of the season.
“I was really focused on my timing just because my other at-bats, I was really early and things like that,” Wynne said. “I just wanted to make sure I got things deep in the zone. I knew that if I would be deep in the zone I wanna gonna take a pitch and it was gonna fall right into my timing, and that’s what happened.
The Cowgirls eight hits were distributed throughout the lineup with no OSU player recording multiple hits. Wynne’s home run meant she led the team in RBIs with three, and Carwile was the only Cowgirl to score multiple times.
A bit of a surprise, the Cowgirls went with Alabama transfer Lexi Kilfoyl in the circle for Game 1 instead of Kelly Maxwell. But Kilfoyl is nothing to sneeze at, entering the day with a 1.86 ERA. She pitched the complete game, retiring the final 17 Ducks she faced. In total, she allowed the one run off three hits while walking none and striking out three.
“I felt good from the start,” Kilfoyl said. “I was sweating a bunch in that bullpen, but being a Florida girl, I’m used to that. When I came out, I just trusted my dropball, and they were putting it in play right to our players. They’re covering every single inch of that field.”
Tallen Edwards, Chyenne Factor and Rachel Becker helped the defensive effort with some stellar plays in the field. Edwards made a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch in the first inning that saved a run. Factor caught a ball before running into the center field wall in the sixth inning, and Becker made a diving stop at second in the seventh inning before throwing the runner out from a knee.
OSU has a chance to clinch its fourth straight WCWS appearance at 5 p.m. Friday in Cowgirl Stadium.
“I know Oregon’s gonna come out for blood tomorrow no matter what,” Gajewski said. “That’s what good teams do when their backs are against the wall. I’m excited for the opportunity.”