It took extra innings, but No. 13 Oklahoma State stole Game 1 of the Tallahassee Super Regional, downing No. 4 Florida State 3-1.
Michaela Richbourg was the hero of the night, going yard for a two-run homer in the top of the ninth that put the visitors up for good. Then Samantha Show capped her big night by retiring her 18th-straight batter to earn her 20th win of the season.
Here are my five thoughts on a big-time win for the Cowgirls.
1. A Pitchers’ Dual
Of the two starters on the mound, Florida State’s Meghan King — who entered Thursday with a 1.42 ERA — looked to be the more in control during the early goings. The Seminoles’ ace struck out 10 and was ultra stingy for most of the game.
Meanwhile, Samantha Show was effective throughout, though it wasn’t always pretty. She gave up her only run in the second inning on a mistimed grab attempting what should have been an easy out at the plate. In three-straight innings she allowed runners to get into scoring position, and in three-straight innings she stranded all of them.
But down the stretch, it was the Show Show.
After retiring so many Cowgirls in the previous eight innings and 120 pitches, King’s two throws in the ninth would send her to the bench. Her first two pitches were a Madi Sue Montgomery double to center field and a Richbourg two-run game-winning dinger. Final count — 122.
— Cowgirl Softball (@CowgirlSB) May 24, 2019
(That was also the first homer given up by King since April 9.)
Show rode that momentum and exuded confidence as she stepped to the mound. She struck out her first batter and a then a pair of ground-outs ended the game.
WOW… Samantha Show! 😱
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 24, 2019
— Samantha Show (@SamanthaShow03) May 24, 2019
2. OSU Remains Perfect in Tallahassee
The Cowgirls are now 12-6 against Florida State all-time and 3-0 in the Seminoles’ home town. The first two wins came a 10 years ago at the 2009 Tallahassee NCAA Regional. On these trips extra innings are apparently the norm. A decade ago, OSU hit a game-winner in the seventh of one game and hit a walk-off in the 12th of another.
3. Madi Sue Makes Plays, and History
As stated above, Meghan King kept the Cowgirls under wraps for much of the night. OSU didn’t get its first hit until the fourth inning when Montgomery singled up the middle. No visiting runner passed first base until the sixth inning when Chelsea Alexander doubled to left center. She would score on a sac fly by Montgomery, tying it at 1-1. Madi Sue’s double in the ninth would represent the winning run.
Montgomery also made history. Her driven-in run of Chelsea Alexander in the sixth means her career count is 31 home runs, 51 doubles and 202 RBI, inducting her into the 30-50-200 club. She and OU’s Syndney Romero are the only two players in Big 12 history to reach that career mark.
4. Cowgirls Played with Swagger
Whether it was the dugout chants we’ve become accustomed to, the steely-eyed countenance of Show as she benched 18-straight Seminoles — or the background antics of Raquel Dominguez (see below) — OSU didn’t walk into this game like the underdog, didn’t react like an underdog and didn’t finish the game like an underdog.
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) May 24, 2019
5. One Away
This was easily the biggest win of the season for Kenny Gajewski’s team, but history tells us it’s probably even bigger. The winner of Game 1 of a Super Regional goes on to the College World Series 79 percent of the time.
If the Cowgirls close things out tomorrow or win the rubber game on Saturday, the will advance to Oklahoma City for the eighth CWS berth in program history and first since 2011 (also the last time they made it to a Super Regional).
Play of the Game
This play by Show was a turning point in the game. After giving up the run in the second and then some sloppy play by OSU’s defense to start the third (including an unforced error that landed a runner on second) Show looked frustrated. Then she did what players do, and she made a play.
FSU had two runners in scoring position when Show caught a line drive off the bat of FSU’s Dani Morgan and turned it into this nice double play.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 23, 2019
Not only did that play end the inning, OSU would retire 18-straight Seminole batters on as Show and the defense locked in over the final six innings.
Next Up: The Cowgirls don’t have long to celebrate. Game 2 is tomorrow at 6 p.m. central time and will be televised on ESPN.