STILLWATER, Okla. — As Oklahoma State fans filed out of Cowgirl Stadium on Sunday, one phrase kept being repeated, “You can never count them out!”
The largest combined crowd for a series this season discovered that each and every game against Texas Tech.
And just as it was the first two games of the conference series, the sweep came with the Cowgirls battling back time and again — with Sunday’s finale rivaling Saturday’s rally from seven down as the most dramatic with a 6-5 walk-off win in a three-run home run by senior Samantha Show.
“We have a really mature mindset right now, and I think that’s super important to have if we want to make it as far as we do (in the postseason),” said Show, who also pitched all seven innings to pick up the win in the circle. “Just knowing that even if they score runs, or there aren’t any runs scored in the late innings, that we’re going to be able to put something together and get going.
“It’s not the same people every time, either. That just goes to show how good one through nine is, even people coming off the bench can impress.”
While the Cowgirls (37-11 overall, 13-2 Big 12 Conference) had several innings to work their rally Saturday, Sunday’s comeback was a little more frantic.
Texas Tech starting pitcher Erin Edmoundson held OSU without a hit through the first four innings of the game, and allowed just three base runners in that window – two walks and a hit batter. During that time, the Red Raiders had managed to put up three runs with a two-run home run in the fourth and a solo shot in the top of the fifth.
But the Cowgirl bats finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth with a single down by Chelsea Alexander that banged off the wall just inside the right-field foul line. She was followed with a single by Kiley Naomi and an RBI single by Rylee Bayless that plated Alexander.
“We were trying to jinx her no-no, and I felt like somebody was going to do it, it just so happen to be me,” said Alexander, who was making just her 21st start of the season. “It took us a while to get our bats going, but we locked in like we always do and I was just ready to hit. I knew I needed to get on base because we needed to score runs.”
The Cowgirls completed their first rally of the game when Madi Sue Montgomery blooped a double down the right-field line that plated Naomi and Bayless and knotted the game up with two innings remaining.
The No. 13 Red Raiders, which managed eight hits and three walks against Show, tried to reclaim the momentum in the six, but an inning-ending double play by the OSU infield prevented that. At least, until the top of the seventh.
OSU made some mental mistakes on the infield in the seventh that forced the bases loaded with no outs for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders (35-12, 8-10) scratched across two runs with a couple of sacrifice flies to take a two-run lead with the Cowgirls having just one last chance at the plate.
“We made some mental mistakes late there and gave them at least one run,” Cowgirl coach Kenny Gajewski said. “… Our mental mistakes cost us, and we’ve got to go back and hone up on that. We had made some great plays, we turned two double plays that were athletic plays, we just can’t let that last one happen in the seventh.”
Just as was the case in the big three-run fifth, it was Alexander that got the rally going again for No. 12 OSU.
The sophomore from Latta dropped in a leadoff bunt single – something she was able to take advantage of against the Texas Tech infield throughout the series.
“I feel like the third baseman was kind of crashing on me, but not very hard – at least not enough to where I’d be scared to bunt,” Alexander said. “It was almost like she thought I would and was trying to get me not to because she wasn’t crashing hard enough. I feel like when I’m hitting well, and I can bunt, they don’t know what they are going to do (to defend), so it opens up a lot of options for me.”
Two batters later, Bayless nearly tied the game herself with a double that bounced off the top of the center-field wall back into play.
That set up Show for her 15th home run of the season – tying her with Montgomery's efforts last year for the program’s single-season home run record – as she sent the first pitch she saw over the Cowgirl fans in left field.
“In all my at-bats today, I took strikes that were plated. As an elite hitter, I can't take those,” Show said. “In that last at-bat, I told myself that if there was anything on the plate, I'm going full throttle. The ball was there and I hit it out. We trailed in every game of the series, but I didn't have any doubts.”
With the emotions of the weekend – which included Gajewski being ejected in the first inning of the first game Friday, and the Cowgirls having to rally in each contest to get the victory – OSU will hope to recapture that the next time it takes the diamond. That’s because it will likely be just as emotional with the Cowgirls set to square off with No. 1 Oklahoma in the Bedlam series that will close out the regular season.
“I was excited to see how Tech sparked our energy and we could keep it going, because Tech can fire us up,” Alexander said. “So if we can keep this energy, I can’t wait for Bedlam. It’ll be exciting, and we get two home games, so with our crowd back at it, I can’t wait. You won’t want to miss it.”