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Doubleheader sweep highlights strengths, weaknesses of Cowgirl offense

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Sydney Pennington looks to make a play during the second game of a doubleheader between No. 16 Oklahoma State vs. Kansas Big 12 Conference softball game at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater on Friday, April 5, 2019.

OSU coach Kenny Gajewski was beside himself while thinking about how his team could play so well and score only 13 runs.

The Oklahoma State softball team took both games from Kansas on Friday, 8-1 and 5-0, thanks to two lights-out pitching performances and a persistent offense that did not let up.

While OSU (28-11 overall, 6-2 Big 12) didn’t struggle to get runners on, they did allow Kansas to stay in both games by struggling to bring those runnings home.

The Cowgirls left 21 runners on base through their two games on Friday. This, along with 18 drawn walks and 17 hits, led Gajewski, OSU's coach, to believe both of these games would have been much more lopsided than how they finished, just as anyone would have expected.

“The disappointing thing is (our) offense,” Gajewski said. “We did score 13 runs, but any time you get 18 walks and (17) hits, we gotta score more than 13 runs. 21 runners left on base is just too much.”

Gajewski said that even with his team’s struggles to score, he thinks the fix can be simple.

“It’s about them relaxing,” Gajewski said. “Hitting is also contagious. One person gets a hit and then it starts to roll. We are like a bunch of sharks. We’re always a team that when there’s blood in the water, we like to go.”

It wasn’t all bad for OSU at the plate. The Cowgirls tallied three home runs, including a three-run shot by Sydney Pennington in the first game. Samantha Show added two solo home runs of her own.

With OSU's offense showing inconsistencies at the plate, Gajewski looked to seniors Samantha Clakley (7-3, 1.91 ERA) and Show (12-5, 2.01 ERA) to keep the Jayhawks (14-23 overall, 2-3 Big 12) offense off the board, and that is exactly what they did.

The pair combined to throw 14 innings eight strikeouts, while allowing one run on eight hits.

With Show taking the loss in the Cowgirls' matchup against UT Arlington on Wednesday, she said Friday’s start was the way she expects to pitch in all of her starts.

“It was a redemption game for me,” Show said. “That’s how I expect to throw, I expect to have strikeouts and I expect to not allow any runs.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com