STILLWATER, Okla. — There are few teams as talented and as tough as the Oklahoma softball team, and when you aren’t one, it is nearly impossible to beat them.
Oklahoma State found that out Sunday. After taking some positives from Saturday night’s game in Norman, the Cowgirls came out excited to end an eight-year losing streak in a home doubleheader.
Nearly every time OSU’s hopes arose, they were immediately squashed by the best team in college softball as the Sooners won 7-1 and 6-1 at Cowgirl Stadium to once again sweep the Bedlam Series.
OSU coach Kenny Gajewski thought his team played fairly well in both games, but the gap is too large between the Cowgirls and the two teams he thinks are unmatched nationwide – OU and UCLA.
“What Patty (Gasso) has done and they are the toughest in the country and that’s not normal,” Gajewski said. “Usually the talent overrides things. Their toughness overrides it. When you aren’t as talented, you have to be tougher. That is not saying something we are not good. They are at a level that is here with one or two schools, one is UCLA. Then it is in the next 15 and we have shown that and proven that and earned that.
“That gap is a big gap. If you aren’t tougher than they are or can't match that toughness, you have no shot.”
The Cowgirls (37-14 overall, 13-5 Big 12) could not hold off the Sooner attack in either game as OU took early leads in both contests.
In the first contest, Samantha Clakley earned the start but was pulled after only two and a half innings with three earned runs and was replaced by Logan Simunek.
The Piedmont junior threw well, but couldn’t keep OU off the board either, as the Sooners scored four more.
“I don’t think we pitched poorly, but when you pitch and have to make the perfect pitch every time because you can’t give up runs, it is tough,” Gajewski said. “It is pitches under stress. I thought that Logan was wow. I thought (Samantha) Show’s stuff was really well. They just hit good pitches. They are just really good. From what (catcher) Mackenzie (Thomas) was saying, they were hitting balls right where we wanted them.”
The Sooners (48-2, 18-0) were able to shut down the Cowgirls for the most part in the two contests, with the lone runs coming off solo home runs. Mariah Lopez started the first game for OU and tossed nine strikeouts, allowing only two hits.
The one run came from Show in the fourth to keep Lopez from getting a shutout. Show, who broke the program’s single season home run record with 16 with that bomb, said she thinks OU can be beaten, but the offense has to be better.
“I want to say that they are hittable,” Show said. “For whatever reason, our bats were not alive this weekend, only putting up six hits and scoring two runs and those were off of solo shots. I can promise you this, we will get more hits when we face them later on. It wasn’t our weekend in the box and as soon as we can get over that and turn it around going into the Big 12 Tournament, we will be OK.”
Show said it was neat to earn the personal record, but wished it could have come in a victory. To do it in her first year with the program after transferring from Texas A&M meant something to her, though.
“Coach G made it clear to me when I came here that I wasn’t going to break any records,” Show said. “I didn’t come in here thinking that was even possible. I forgot what week it was. It was pretty cool to do that at home at least to have our fans here supporting us.”
In the second game, the top-ranked Sooners brought out their No. 3 pitcher in Florida transfer Shannon Saile, who again shut the Cowgirls down as she went against Show in the circle. Show was replaced by Simunek in the fifth as the only run OSU could muster came from freshman Chyenne Factor’s solo shot.
Senior second baseman Madi Sue Montgomery, who was one of the few Cowgirls to earn a hit, said she hopes that seeing all of OU’s pitchers – along with ace Giselle Juarez on Saturday – will help OSU in the postseason.
“I definitely think seeing them will help us,” Montgomery said. “We can go back and watch how they threw us. Overall they attack us and go get us and aren’t scared of us. They threw a lot of strikes, but we also chased a lot of balls out of the zone. We took a lot of good pitches so I think that is where they got us.”
Montgomery, one of two four-year starters for Kenny Gajewski with Taylor Lynch, set the career record for at-bats in the doubleheader.
One positive for Montgomery was the play of the defense behind the circle. The Cowgirls turned six doubles plays in the three contests.
“The infield has so much trust in everyone at every position,” Montgomery said.
No. 12 OSU will now head to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Tournament where it will be the No. 2 seed. With the sweep, the Cowgirls’ chances at hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1998 are still up in the air.
Show said she wants to meet the Sooners in the conference title or even in the NCAA Tournament, but she knows the Cowgirls will have to play the toughest game they ever played and she thinks they can do that.
“That is where we want to be, that is how competitive we want to be,” Show said. “They are hard outs, one through nine. They took swings, good swings and advantage of us putting balls over the plate. It is what we have to look forward to. It sucks not winning it here. What is more important is winning it in OKC, beating them when it matters the most. We have to use this as a learning block. We will get over it and use it as fuel for our fire later.”