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OSU wins, ending decade Bedlam drought

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O'C Cowgirl Softball v. Iowa State-8.jpg

Cowgirls infielder Sydney Pennington looks on during Friday's game of the Oklahoma State vs. Iowa State softball series on April 2, 2021 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

The first home run was thrown back. The next one incited a water-filled frenzies.

Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma 6-4 on Friday night, snapping a massive losing streak against OU and thrilling the energized crowd in Stillwater.

There was no shortage of power in the high-profile showdown. No. 9 OSU hit four home runs and No. 1 OU had two long balls.

Every run in the game was courtesy of a homer. The Sooners struck first when freshman centerfielder Jayda Coleman lined senior OSU pitcher Carrie Eberle’s pitch over the left field fence for a 2-run shot.

As Coleman trotted around the bases with a raucous “Boomer Sooner” chant filling Cowgirl Stadium while the OU lead was flashed on the scoreboard, it became apparent why the Sooners (40-2) are viewed as the top team in the country.

The Cowgirl’s (40-6) had not beat OU since 2011. For the two teams emerging as a class of their own at the top of the Big 12, meeting at the end of the year with a conference championship on the line was fitting.

“It’s awesome,” junior centerfielder Chyenne Factor said. “We knew we could do it all year. For it to come full circle is a good feeling.”

As Reagan Wright dug into the box in the bottom of the second inning, OSU showed the fight required of a team to avoid being the latest team victim to the Sooner juggernaut.

With two outs, Wright crushed a pitch from two-time All-American Giselle Juarez. Though she sent a ball to almost exact same spot as Coleman’s shot, the reception could not have been more different from the OSU faithful.

With over 600 fans packed into the stadium, the balls hit into an outfield wooden deck were destined to find someone in orange.

Cowgirls fans threw Coleman’s ball which gave the Sooners the lead back onto the field in distain.

Wright’s home run was welcomed with elation. The deck was sent into a frenzy, and fans who brought Super Soakers shot streams of water in the air reminiscent of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

The Cowgirls rode home runs to victory. A 2-run blast over the right-field wall off the bat of senior Haley Busby was the second of the third inning and gave OSU a 5-4 lead.

With senior pitcher Carrie Eberle dealing all night, the OSU lead would not be relinquished.

Eberle (19-1), the Cowgirl’s pitching rock, held the Sooners to a season-low four runs. Though she was hit hard early, Eberle and pitching coach John Bargfeldt battled back against one of the most feared lineups in the country.

“Really proud of Carrie,” Gajewski said. “They hit a couple balls that she would like to have back but John and here got settled in. You’ve just got to figure thigs out. You go in with a game plan and if everything is not right you have to scrap it and figure out what’s going to work.”

Eberle said she got stronger as the game went on.

It was a complete game for the veteran in which she threw 121 pitches — a stark contrast to OU’s starter Juarez (15-1) who could not make it through three innings in her first loss of the year.

“They always let me grind until I say I can’t go anymore,” Eberle said. “There was no doubt in my mind I was going seven today. It was a grind; it was a battle. But the defense had my back all day, the offense came to play so it all came together well.”

The first Cowgirl win against the Sooners in 11 years sets the table for a huge weekend. The Cowgirls must take one of the next two games to be crowned Big 12 regular season Champions. If they cannot, the title stays in Norman.

“I knew I was 0-13, or 0-14 (against OU),” Gajewski said. “That’s all that mattered to me. I wanted to turn the tides for these kids. It’s not going to be a decade again. I can tell you that.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com