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Cowgirls prevail in pitching duel, walk-off No. 9 Texas

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Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show pitching the ball during the Oklahoma State-Texas softball game at Cowgirl Stadium on March 29, 2019.

Michaela Richbourg was pumped to be at the plate.

She hadn’t had great at bats on the night, but in the bottom of the seventh, she didn’t hesitate to swing at the first pitch.

In an elite pitching battle, the Oklahoma State softball team came out on top. Richbourg hit a walk-off single to clinch a 1-0 win for the Cowgirls against Texas on Friday night at Cowgirl Stadium.

The game was in a stalemate for almost the whole night, and neither team was able to crack the scoreboard.

But the No. 21 Cowgirls finally generated some offense in the final inning.

Madi Sue Montgomery was walked to lead off the frame. Then, a couple Texas errors allowed Cheyenne Factor to get on base and pinch runner Chelsea Alexander to reach third. Taylor Lynch was intentionally walked to put Richbourg at the plate.

“(The team) was telling me, ‘Taylor got walked for a reason. (Texas) had no faith in me,’” Richbourg said. “But my team said they had my back and they had all the faith in the world in me.”

White and orange jerseys swarmed home plate as Alexander scored the winning run. But the mob then quickly migrated to Richbourg near first base.

The walk-off hit nearly overshadowed an elite pitching duel between OSU’s Samantha Show and Texas’ Miranda Elish.

Both arms started off the night hot, with no player even getting on base until the third inning.

Despite the matchup with Elish and the No. 9 Longhorns, OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said Show wasn’t any more fired up than normal.

“I don’t think Sam Show needs motivation,” Gajewski said. “She’s a pretty motivated kid. She does rise to the occasion. That’s what she does. That’s kind of her MO.”

The Cowgirls had a chance to get on the board in the third, though. Runners had reached second and third because of a string of Texas throwing errors.

But the situation was quickly erased. A base running mistake from Madi Lohman forced OSU into a double play that was inches away from being a triple play.

Show didn’t slow down as the game wore on. As the contest started to intensify later in the night, Show carried the same mindset that she always does.

“I’m out there doing it for the girls,” Show said. “Nothing changes mentality wise (late in the game).

“If anything I prefer the more pressure situations because I really have to get locked in and focus.”

Show said she had a few more innings left in her if the game went to extras. In the complete game, she allowed just four hits and clinched her 11th win of the season.

Freshman shortstop Kiley Naomi made a couple of key defensive plays to keep the game in a stalemate.

She once sprinted into the infield then fired a quick throw to first, and later chased down a runner who got caught trying to make it to third base. Both plays showcased her blazing speed.

The tag out also prevented a game-changing score in the sixth inning.

The next Longhorn batter hit a single that would’ve scored a runner from third.

“I’m happy for these kids because they continue to get better and grind,” Gajewski said. “You gotta figure out ways to scratch runs against teams like this and pitchers like that.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com