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Two games, two different paths to victory as OSU clinches spot in Big 12 Championship game

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OSU pitcher Samantha Show pitches during the No. 12 Oklahoma State vs. No. 1 Oklahoma Big 12 Conference Bedlam softball game two on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

Oklahoma City -- The two games the No. 14 Oklahoma State softball team played on Friday had countless differences with one constant: the Cowgirls came away victorious.

In their first game of the day the Cowgirls (39-14) showed glimpses of what was to come later in the day.

The Cowgirls were losing 2-0 to No. 8 Texas heading to the bottom of the sixth inning with only six outs to go before dropping their first game of the Big 12 tournament. This is when the OSU bats came to life.

Four hitters combined to bring in the six OSU runs that would eventually lead OSU to victory and their first win of the tournament.

The six runs that the Cowgirls scored in their first game were later dwarfed by their performance in the second game against Iowa State (32-23).

OSU put together a record-breaking performance which included seven home runs, 17 hits and 17 runs on their way to defeating the Cyclones, 17-2.

OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said that his team's performance surprised everyone.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would hit seven home runs and score 17 runs against (Iowa State),” Gajewski said.

Over the course of the second game, 11 Cowgirls notched hits, including Lauren Heintzelman, Taylor Tuck and Sydney Springfield off the bench.

Springfield came away with impactful pinch-hit performances in both games Friday. In the first she hit a two-run single to give OSU the lead. In the second game she hit her fourth home run of the season.

Springfield has made a huge impact coming off of the Cowgirl bench in recent weeks and Gajewski said she is making his lineup decisions much more difficult.

“I gotta find her a place to play,” Gajewski said. “(With) this team, right now, if you're not going well, you gotta look behind you. I don’t want them to play like that, but that’s the way it is.”

With multiple Cowgirls coming off the bench and getting on base, Gajewski said that this is exactly what he wants to see from his team as the postseason progresses.

“It’s huge because you're taking at-bats for the future,” Gajewski siad. “You’re taking at-bats for the postseason when I look (in the dugout) when somebody’s not going well and I look over there and I go, ‘Who can I go to.'”

Raquel Dominguez, who has split time behind the plate with Mackenzie Thomas this year, Played a large part in the Cowgirls' explosive second-inning against the Cyclones.

OSU put up seven runs, with Dominguez getting two at-bats during the inning. She took full advantage of the opportunity and hit her first and second home run of her career.

Dominguez said that this team never doubted themselves after being swept by No. 1 Oklahoma to end the regular season.

“We all knew that we were going to get our confidence back quickly,” Dominguez said. “We had a rough outing against (OU), but with this team and the mentality that we’ve shown each other, there was no doubt that we were going to come back from that.”

Dominguez was one of many Cowgirls to contribute to a total of five records set during the performance.

Dominguez became the only Cowgirl to ever hit two home runs within the same inning.

OSU set team records with seven home runs in a game as well as home runs in one inning which they set in the second with five.

Senior second baseman Madi Sue Montgomery set the program record for games started and games played, both at 235.

Cowgirl senior Samantha Show said this was the kind of performance that the team is starting to get used to, and that Friday's performance is exactly what it needed for the Championship game, which is set for Saturday at 4 p.m.

“I think we just had to use that as a fire under our butts,” Show said. “Putting up six hits (in the OU series) is not OSU softball, so to come out and do what we did against Texas, and to do what we did against Iowa State, we’re picking back up where we left off.

“For us to out there and hit like that, I think we really need that going into the game tomorrow. Just to show everyone what we are made of.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com