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Maxwell tosses no-hitter against Red Raiders in Big 12 opener

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Kelly Maxwell

OSU pitcher Kelly Maxwell improved her pitching arsenal this offseason, adding a rise ball to her repertoire.  

Kelly Maxwell was longing for the moment.

The rubber she stood on was disheveled, and the outside line of the circle lost its color after her foot scraped it repeatedly. 106 pitches had been thrown from Maxwell’s left arm, before audibly smacking the glove of catcher Julia Cottrill.

All she needed was one more strike. Maxwell released the ball from her hands, but Texas Tech’s Madison Grumbo didn’t swing. There was a pause from the umpire behind home plate, until he decided the pitch was a ball.

Another pitch had to be thrown. After believing she struck out the opposing batter, Maxwell, with a 1-2 count, nearly walloped Grumbo, if not for the ball grazing the bat before it could hit her, resulting in a foul tip.

After another foul ball, Maxwell finally struck out Grumbo, but Cottrill dropped the low strike. The jubilation was delayed for a few more seconds, but Cottrill made the throw to first, ending the game, and giving Maxwell her moment.

In OSU’s first game of Big 12 play, Maxwell no-hit the Texas Tech Red Raiders, in part of the Cowgirls 7-0 victory Friday night.

Maxwell, OSU’s ace pitcher, knew she could go further beyond her pitching performances this season, until the no-hitter finally happened.

“I have been close,” Maxwell said. “I’ve had one-hitters a couple times this season, but I was glad I could get through that seventh inning and get it done.”

The performance was not perfect, as Maxwell walked three while also hitting two others. In the seventh inning, Maxwell put two runners on base before completing the no-hitter. Despite the accomplishment, Maxwell knows there is still room to grow.

“I just have to focus on pounding the strike zone,'' Maxwell said. “I have to get ahead early. I hit people with some pitches that weren’t my best, but it happens.”

Maxwell’s performance was made easier by OSU’s run-support, as the Cowgirl offense scored seven runs and collectively connected on 11 hits. Outfielder Katelynn Carwile hit two doubles, scoring two runs in the process.

Carwile, who increased her batting average to a team leading .433, also leads the Cowgirls in OPS, with a 1.136, and in doubles with eight. The sophomore said after the game she was doing everything to help Maxwell and her team.

“Honestly I didn’t even know it was a no-hitter until after,” Carwile said. “Every time Kelly gets on the mound it’s something special. She’s so good that it’s crazy. I trust her with every pitch she throws… I try to help my team win. I want us to be the best.”

To start off conference play with a high-scoring, no-hitter, coach Kenny Gajewski said his team is ready to be even better throughout the rest of the schedule.

“When you pitch like that and hit like that, you’re going to win a lot of games,” Gajewski said. “It feels good, it always feels good to win the first game, You can’t go 2-0 if you don’t go 1-0. We’re gonna continue getting better.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com