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OSU’s offense shines in regional win over Mississippi State

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Softball - Chyenne Factor

Water shot up into the air in the left field bleachers.

Shortstop Kiley Naomi’s hit cascaded over the fans in the bleachers, who drenched each other with water to celebrate the hit.

It fell just short of the right lane on McElroy.

On Saturday, Naomi’s home run spurred a huge inning in Oklahoma State’s 9-3 victory against Mississippi State at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater as part of the NCAA regionals.

"We just put ourselves in the driver's seat in the regional," coach Kenny Gajewski said. "I didn't think we played particularly clean, but this was a day that our offense was really good and I credit them."

Naomi’s home run came in the third inning, and kickstarted a five-run inning for OSU (44-9). Centerfielder Chyenne Factor singled and was driven in on a double by first baseman Alysen Febrey.

Febrey advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by rightfielder Hayley Busby, and scored when third baseman Sydney Pennington singled. Second baseman Karli Petty walked and catcher Reagan Wright doubled to score Pennington and Petty.

"I think sticking to how we are as players and being selfless and having selfless at-bats (is important) to move runners and to score," Febrey said.

Before the inning started, MSU (34-24) led 2-1. Both runs were scored by first baseman Fa Leilua. In the first inning she hit a deep home run to left field and scored in the third on a groundball by second baseman Paige Cook.

The Bulldogs weren’t without their chances. They loaded the bases three times, twice in the third inning and were only able to score one run off of it.

Errors by OSU were huge on the Bulldogs getting the bases loaded. Febrey fumbled a groundball by third baseman Montana Davidson in the second and leftfielder Chelsea Alexander dropped a diving catch in the third inning.

"Carrie (Eberle) works out of jams and we don't ever panic," Gajewski said. "Credit (coach) John (Bargfeldt) and Carrie for really buckling down there. It was a huge moment."

OSU tacked three more runs in the fourth inning. Naomi singled, and was driven in on a double by Febrey. Busby reached on a single and was driven in, along with Febrey, by a Pennington double.

Eberle pitched the complete game, allowing six hits and three runs, one unearned, six walks and three strikeouts. Her record improved to 22-3. 

Mississippi State relied on three pitchers Saturday. Emily Williams started, going three innings and allowing six runs before being replaced by Alyssa Loza. Loza went one inning, allowing three earned runs and four hits.

Aspen Wesley pitched the final two innings striking out two and allowing two hits. Williams lost, and her record fell to 8-6.

"Overall, it is just another really good offensive performance," Gajewski said. "Scoring in three of the six innings. I feel good about our spot, we can go home and rest and watch these (other teams) beat each other up. That's the advantage."

sports.ed@ocolly.com