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Pennington homers, three away from school record

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20-3-11 O'C OSU Softball vs Wichita State-9.jpg

OSU junior Sydney Pennington steps up to bat during the Oklahoma State vs. Wichita State softball game on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater.

The bat cracked and the ball was shortly deposited over the left field wall. 

It missed a white car in the parking lot by inches. 

Third baseman Sydney Pennington rounded the bases, as did designated player Hayley Busby and shortstop Kiley Naomi. Her three-run home run was the deciding factor in the game. 

Pennington's home run was vital to Oklahoma State's 6-4 victory over the Texas Longhorns at McCombs Field in Austin on Sunday. 

“I was trying to be a little bit more aggressive that at bat," Pennington said. "My first one I felt like was a little bit timid, so I just went out and tried to hit it hard, try to be aggressive."

Her home run was in the third inning, giving OSU a 5-2 lead. She had four at-bats, the home run being her only hit on Sunday.

But it was the most important hit of the game. 

The home run was Pennington's 33rd of her OSU career. She is three home runs away from setting the school record held by Tiffany Mikkelson, who has 36. 

“It shows you have to keep grinding for four years and good things happen," Pennington said. "Tiffany has reached out to me and told me she wants it to be crushed and that she’s rooting for me. It’s cool to have support from her."

Pennington said she doesn't think about it, keeping it in the back of her head so it doesn't interfere with her when batting. She said it is an honor to be so close to setting a school record.

Coach Kenny Gajewski said Pennington struggled initially this season, but once she decided to return for her fifth year, she became more comfortable on the field. 

“She’s a great player. She’s a great Cowgirl. She just gives us everything. That’s what you want," Gajewski said. "I’m really happy for her. She’s got a lot more that she wants to do and accomplish with this team. I know that, and I can’t wait to watch it.”

Pennington also had an important defensive play Sunday. In the sixth inning, a high pop fly was hit in the direction of Pennington, but a miscommunication in the infield jeopardized the catch. 

With runners on second and third base with two outs, and the Cowgirls holding a two-run lead, it was an important play for Pennington to make. 

"It was a ball I should have called right off the bat," Pennington said. "I kind of last second stuck my glove out under the ball and caught it. I don’t want to say it was lucky but it definitely wasn’t a pretty clean play." 

sports.ed@ocolly.com