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Cowgirls defeat Tulsa in pitching duel

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OSU vs. UF 2019 WCWS 005.JPG

Cowgirl Sydney Pennington makes a throw to first base during the Oklahoma State vs. Florida softball game on May 30, 2019, in Oklahoma City. The No. 13 Cowgirls defeated the No. 5 Gators 2-1 for their first win of the 2019 Women's College World Series. (DEVIN LAWRENCE WILBER/O'Colly)

Excitement was in the air as the Oklahoma State softball team played the second game of its fall schedule.

OSU defeated Tulsa 3-1 in a strong pitching duel on Friday at Cowgirl Stadium.

The Cowgirls took an early lead when Taylor Tuck hit a ball to deep left field, allowing Shalee Brantley to score. Tuck had two hits out of three at bats on the night.

Kelly Maxwell started the night in the pitching circle. She pitched three innings, allowing two hits and no runs.                 

Maxwell improved from last week, where she had a shaky start against Wichita State.

“I really just wasn’t really nervous tonight I just went after my batters and got right after them,” Maxwell said. “Going after batters rather than just kind of just kind of letting the crowd get me.”

Maxwell said she focused on attacking the batters tonight and letting her team do defense.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Golden Hurricane tied it up at one on an error from Karli Petty.

From there, all it was all Oklahoma State. Sydney Pennington singled to center field in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Chelsea Alexander to score.

Pennington played lights out and went 3-for-3 at the plate. She has showed why coach Kenny Gajewski moved her further up in the lineup.

Pennington said what she has done differently to prepare for this season.

“I’ve just been working really hard in practice and really just trying to stay relaxed,” Pennington said. “I’ve been trying to get back to a comfortable swing for myself, so I think that’s really helped.”

Pennington also said there was something to improve on after this game.

“I would say our energy, I think last year we intimidated people with how loud we were in the dugout,” Pennington said. “This year we haven’t got to that point yet but, I think we can work on that and kind of get loud like we were last year.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Shalee Brantley was walked by Golden Hurricane pitcher Samantha Pochop, in a bases loaded situation, allowing Macee Barnes to score.

Maxwell was credited with the win 3-1 tonight, allowing just two hits in three innings pitched.

Carrie Eberle had a solid night as well, pitching three innings and allowing one run.

Gabby Sprang relieved Eberle and pitched two innings and only allowed one hit. Logan Simunek ended the night in two shut out innings.

Coach Kenny Gajewski said he was impressed with the pitching on both teams. However, he was disappointed in the offensive performance part of the game.

“I thought they pitched very well, I thought we pitched really well too,” Gajewski said. “I was disappointed in our bats for a period of time but, you know we just did what we had to.”

Gajewski explained his reasoning to the batting order changes.  

“I like to have a really good hitter in the two hole and Sydney had the best ball on our team, her and Busby have both been awesome, and Petty has too,” Gajewski said. “We really want Busby to hit that three hole, Sydney seems to be somebody that can wreak some havoc, she’s a different kid than she’s been in her first couple of year.”