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Eberle tosses complete game, defense vital in Cowgirls win against Longhorns

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O'C Cowgirl Softball v. Iowa State-22.jpg

OSU catcher Reagan Wright (left) talks with pitcher Carrie Eberle during Saturday's game of the Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State softball series on April 3, 2021 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

Carrie Eberle took a deep breath.

With runners on second and third base with two outs, Eberle began her pitching motion. She threw a fastball to Texas’ third baseman Shannon Rhodes, who was down in the count. She missed.

The strikeout ended the inning.

Eberle’s strikeout with two runners in scoring position was vital for Oklahoma State’s 3-1 victory against Texas on Friday at McCombs Field in Austin.

“It was just thinking about attacking with my (pitches),” Eberle said. “They made adjustments well, so we had to figure out how to get them out the second and third time around. It was a little tougher than the first. It was definitely a battle out there.”

Eberle tossed a complete game, allowing one run against a Texas team that averages 7.4 runs a game. She didn’t walk any batters and struck out four.

Eberle’s performance started out perfect, sitting batters down in order in the first two innings. She finished the game allowing eight hits, one to each batter with the exception of Rhodes. 

Eberle allowed one home run, a solo shot from catcher Mary Iakopo. It was Eberle's second consecutive game allowing a home run. 

Eberle’s pitching was supported by several key defensive plays. Center fielder Chyenne Factor made a diving catch, quickly turning it into a double play throwing to second base in the fourth inning.

Two more double plays, a groundball to second baseman Karli Petty was tossed to Kiley Naomi at second base and thrown to first baseman Alysen Febrey in the fifth inning. A line drive to Naomi was caught and flipped to Petty at second base for a third double play.

“(The double plays) are rally killers,” coach Kenny Gajewski said. “It is hard to get outs and when you get two on one play it is big. We played very good defense.”

A difficult catch on the warning track by Factor in the seventh and a hard-hit groundball back to Eberle in the sixth were all vital in OSU’s win. Eberle said playing behind a defense she can rely on gives her confidence.

“They are so awesome, and they deserve all the credit in the world,” Eberle said. “It is always great when your teammates have your back and they made the plays we needed today. It all came together well.”

Eberle’s record improved to 17-1, a team best. Pitcher Kelly Maxwell is expected to start Saturday, with Eberle expected to pitch the series finale on Sunday. Eberle said she will make minor adjustments like always but will take it one pitch at a time to keep momentum.

“It is going to be a grind all weekend,” Eberle said. “If we stay aggressive at the plate and working on our plans and approaches, just attacking hitters and throwing competitive pitches from the pitching staff.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com