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Oklahoma State Coach Kenny Gajewski Preview Bedlam Softball Series

The Sooners have won 38 in a row, but they lost to the Cowgirls the last time these teams met.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Kenny Gajewksi is glad the Oklahoma softball team already has its Big 12 trophy.

At 15-0 in conference play, the Sooners have already won the Big 12. Oklahoma State hosts its Bedlam rival this weekend in a three-game series starting at 6 p.m. Friday. For much of this season it looked like the Big 12 would come down to this series. The Cowgirls started the year 8-0 in Big 12 play but have since dropped four of six conference games heading into the Bedlam series.

“I’m glad [OU getting its trophy] is over with,” Gajewksi said. “Because there’s nothing worse than having to watch that. .. For us, now we can just focus on let’s just play, let’s win the first game, let’s win the first pitch, let’s win the first inning — just keep building on that.”

It’s been a tough stretch for the Cowgirls. They’ve lost seven of their past nine games, including a 5-1 loss to North Texas on Wednesday. At 41-10 on the season, the Cowgirls still rank fourth nationally in RPI, but even in the comfort of Cowgirl Stadium (where OSU is 19-3 this season), there won’t be many who pick the Cowgirls to upset the Sooners this weekend. It would take some Bedlam.

The last time these teams played, however, OSU was victorious. After OU swept the regular season series, the teams met in the Big 12 tournament final, where OSU won 4-3 in eight innings. It was just the second time since 2011 the Cowgirls beat OU.

Gajewski is 2-20 against OU, which isn’t ideal against an in-state rival, but since Gajewski took over in 2016, OU is 413-40 and has won four national titles.

Gajewski said early in his tenure, the Cowgirls would play scared against big, bad Oklahoma. But he said he has seen that change over recent seasons.

“I think when you’re getting your ass kicked so much, you get a little bit numb,” Gajewksi said. “Then you say, ‘OK, it’s time to quit worrying about them and let’s just worry about us.’ [Since those early years] we’ve got better players, we’ve got better talent, better experience, played a better schedule, doing more stuff. We’re putting ourselves in better spots more often.”

Earlier in the season, it looked as if Oklahoma might take a step back from its 59-3 national championship winning 2022 season, but that hasn’t been the case. The Sooners lost to Baylor in February but have since won 38 straight games. OU leads the country in batting average, earned run average, fielding percentage, on-base percentage, scoring, shutouts and slugging percentage — just to name a few key stats to softball success.

But OSU has a chance this weekend to gain some big-time momentum and beat their nationally dominant in-state rival in the process.

“They’re the best team in the country for a reason,” Gajewski said. “They’re starting to pitch really well. Since conference has gone on, I think they’re pitching better than they’ve pitched the whole year. … Their offense is still that crazy, powerful offense. They’re not popping quite as many home runs, I think, as last year, and their doubles aren’t as high. But they’re still scoring runs.

“There’s a reason they’ve got one loss: they’re very good. And they’re very well-coached. That Oklahoma across their chest and that championship mindset, that can screw around with your head if you let it. So we just gotta take care of us.”

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