After Friday night’s heartbreaking loss to the LSU Tigers, the Cowgirls were back at it again Saturday for the second day of the Tiger Classic tournament.
The No. 13 Oklahoma State softball team (1-2) split both games of the double-header, blowing out Florida A&M 21-0 before fighting tooth and nail but ultimately losing to No. 11 LSU via walk-off, 3-2.
Here are my three takeaways from today’s double-header.
Cowgirls have the arms to make it back to OKC
Through three games, including two against ranked competition, OSU’s starting trio of pitchers has allowed just three earned runs on nine hits.
The 1-2-3 combination of Carrie Eberle, Kelly Maxwell and Logan Simunek shut down one of the best offenses in the country on its home field, showing they can pitch anywhere and still get it done.
If Oklahoma State is going to make a second consecutive trip to the WCWS, it will likely have to rely on strong performances from these three pitchers, who proved they are capable of shouldering the load in the circle.
Kelly Maxwell is a legitimate front-line starter
Speaking of Maxwell, she pitched just the seventh perfect game in Cowgirl history and did so in her first collegiate game.
Coach Kenny Gajewski said before the season that Maxwell was pitching just as well as Eberle throughout the off-season.
Despite giving up the game-winning home run against the Tigers, Maxwell pitched an absolute gem against Florida A&M, not allowing a single base-runner in her five innings of work.
If she can continue to provide dominant performances like the one against Florida A&M, Gajewski may have found his star pitcher of the future, as Maxwell is just a freshman.
Lineup is a work in progress
Despite exploding against Florida A&M to the tune of 21 runs, the Cowgirl offense remained stagnant when facing top-level pitching from the LSU (4-0) staff.
OSU managed just two hits Saturday against LSU, but Kiley Naomi and Sydney Pennington may have cemented themselves in the top half of the lineup with strong performances from the plate Saturday.
However, the rest of the lineup struggled, and Gajewski has used a different lineup in every game so far, indicating he has not settled on the order just yet.
The Cowgirls do have time to fix their struggles at the plate and with excellent starting pitching, they can afford to tinker with the lineup as they try to figure it out.