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OSU Softball: Cowgirls, Kilfoyl Push Past Michigan, Advance to Supers

Kilfoyl threw 19 innings this weekend, where she struck out 21 and walked no one.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

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STILLWATER — The Cowgirls are headed to a fifth straight Super Regional.

Oklahoma State bested Michigan 4-1 in a Regional final on Sunday at Cowgirl Stadium. With the win, the Cowgirls advance to play Arizona next week in a three-game series, with the winner going to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

“Just an incredible team win,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said. “Five straight Supers, not easy to do in this day and age with the parity we have. I think there’s a lot of people across the country, and maybe in this room, that didn’t think we could make this happen, and it’s really kinda cool. I’m not upset with that at all, I get it. It’s just tough. …

“I think that we talk about this type of stuff a lot — celebrating the moments. This doesn’t get old. It feels a little harder, to be honest. I’ll just be very honest with that. But we talk about this with these guys a lot — just stay together, just do what we do, think about the Cowgirl way and everything will work out the way it should. I think when you just come to grips with all that, you can be in the best place.”

Sunday’s game was similar to the Cowgirls’ win against Kentucky on Saturday in that pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl got in a bit of a sticky situation early before finding a way out of it and dominating from then on.

OSU actually played as the away team Sunday, scoring a run off a Tallen Edwards single in the first inning before Michigan found some early offensive success.

Ellie Sieler started the bottom of the first inning with an infield single and advanced to second on a groundout. Sieler scored when Keke Tholl singled to right to tie the game. Two more singles then made the bases full of Wolverines before Kilfoyl got a groundout to end the inning.

Kilfoyl gave up four hits in that first inning but would give up just one more for the remainder of the game. From the end of that first inning through to middle of the seventh, Kilfoyl retired 17 straight batters before giving up a double to Jenissa Conway in the seventh.

The Cowgirls relied on Kilfoyl’s arm quite a bit in the Regional — with second arm Ivy Rosenberry dealing with a fractured rib. Of the 21 innings the Cowgirls played this weekend, Kilfoyl threw 19. She gave up three runs on 10 hits while walking no one and striking out 21. Dominant stuff from the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.

Kilfoyl said after the game that she was tired but that nothing was overly sore or anything like that.

“The story of the weekend is Lexi over here and just the way she carried this team,” Gajewski said. “She’s been waiting for this moment — whether she knows it or not — and it’s cool to see kids be able to answer and just be so under control and be so normal and be so caring and caring about the program, her teammates, the Cowgirl way — it’s just really neat.”

OSU broke the tie in the second inning when Lexi McDonald used a strong wind blowing to the north to get a ball over the left-field fence. It was a solo shot and her fourth home run of the year.

Freshman Karli Godwin was due for a home run, and she got one in the fifth when she nuked a ball over the deck in left-center field. It ended up on the other side of McElroy Road.

Godwin is the program leader in home runs for a freshman, but she hadn’t hit one since the Bedlam opener on May 3.

Godwin credited her busting her slump (if you can call only five games without a home run a slump) to some midgame chats around the OSU dugout.

“I think Jil (Poullard) has been a big part of this weekend, and before I went on deck, she came up to me and she was like, ‘Listen, we don’t need you to be a hero. We just need you to be Karli Godwin,'” Godwin said. “I think that kind of took the pressure off my shoulders.

“Coach G talked to me a few innings before and was like, ‘Hey, just calm down. You are meant to be here. You’re really good. Sometimes you just get worked up and you need to take a deep breath.’ I think both of those things just allowed me to like, ‘Hey, it’s justΒ  a game. We’re in this. My team’s got me regardless.'”

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