Kiley Naomi didn’t want to wait for a changeup.
OSU’s leadoff hitter swung at the first pitch of her second at-bat, a fastball right over the middle of the plate and launched a home run toward left field to disrupt the scoreless affair in the third inning. That blast was Naomi’s third in two games.
Shea O’Leary, Texas’ pitcher, showcased her strong changeup for the entire contest, but didn’t fool Naomi.
“I put a good swing on that outside pitch,” Naomi said. I was trying to be the first one to score to get that momentum.”
But after that run, Texas seized control and for the first time this season, defeated the Cowgirls 4-2 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater in game two of the NCAA Super Regional.
“I had a good feeling in my gut that Texas would come out and play their best,” Cowgirl coach Kenny Gajewski said. “When your season is on the line you play with a sense of urgency like they did today.”
Texas, behind the superb pitching of Shea O’Leary, recorded seven hits against OSU’s left-handed pitcher Kelly Maxwell.
O’Leary recorded a complete game, on 89 pitches, while conceding three hits and striking out five.
In the bottom of the sixth, tied at one, Texas’ Jordan Whitaker crushed a Maxwell offering beyond the outstretched glove of Chyenne Factor, OSU’s centerfielder, to lead 2-1. Whitaker’s bomb was the first Longhorn extra base hit of the super regional.
“I don’t think Kelly (Maxwell) executed the pitch exactly in the location,” Gajewski said. “I think Kelly was starting to wear down and we were in between. It’s hard to take a kid out when you’re cruising along.”
In that same inning, Mary Iakopo, Texas’ catcher dinged a 2-run homer over right field fence to lead 4-1.
In the seventh inning third baseman Sydney Pennington clubbed a home run, but that was all the Cowgirls could muster.
In the loss, Maxwell logged five and one-third innings while striking out five and walking two. In relief, Logan Simunek pitched a hitless two-third of an inning.
A decisive game three tomorrow at 3 p.m. will decide a trip to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
“I think it’s going to be epic,” Gajewski said. “I think our crowd will be out of control and I think our players will play with that same sense of urgency. We’ll be better.”