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OSU Softball: Young Cowgirls Sweep Big 12 Newcomer UCF

The Cowgirls sweep UCF with a 6-4 Sunday win.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — It’s a common trope that underclassmen will hit some sort of wall early in their journey as a college player, but it sounds like Kenny Gajewski fears no such wall.

Oklahoma State beat UCF 6-4 on Sunday in Cowgirl Stadium to sweep the Big 12 newcomer Knights. UCF outhit the Cowgirls on the day, but timely swings from OSU underclassmen built an early lead that OSU wouldn’t relinquish.

In total, underclassmen accounted for all five of OSU’s RBIs and five of their six runs scored.

“I’m not worried about a wall — these guys are in great shape,” Gajewski said. “They’re mentally strong. That’s why they’re doing well: they’re mentally strong.

“They have their ups and downs, but up to this point, they haven’t shown me anything that says they’re going to hit that wall at this point.”

Freshman Karli Godwin blasted a two-run home run to straightaway center to open the game’s scoring in the bottom of the first. It was Godwin’s second home run of the weekend and sixth of her young career.

“I don’t think you can measure the professional mentality that she has,” Gajewski said. “She’s the same every single day. I’ll tell you this, Rosie (Davis) is the exact same way. They’ve had very few moments where I had to go up to them and say, ‘Are you alright?’ Karli, I used to ask her every day because she just has a mean look every day. I’ve just learned that when she’s at work, she’s just here to work.

“You just don’t know these kids well until you get in the fight with them. I don’t know that I’m shocked or not shocked, but I guess I love the way that they just work.”

The Cowgirls pounced on Knight mistakes in the third, scoring three more runs. The rally started with a Tallen Edwards fielder’s choice that scored Scotland David. A passed ball then brought home Katie Lott before Claire Timm had an infield single that scored Edwards. All of a sudden it was 5-0, and the only player mentioned to this point who isn’t an underclassman is David.

UCF clawed one back in the third before really putting the pressure on the Cowgirls in the sixth when Sona Halajian hit a three-run home run into the wind that was blowing in from left field. That swing cut OSU’s lead down to 5-4. But in the bottom of the frame, Micaela Wark, a redshirt sophomore, hit a ball down the third-base line that bounced off the bag and resulted in Rosie Davis scoring from third and Wark stopping at second.

The Knights got two on in the seventh to continue the threat before Lexi Kilfoyl forced a pop up to left to end the game.

Among underclassmen with at least 30 at-bats, Davis (.417), Timm (.413), Godwin (.363) and Edwards (.354) area all hitting above .350. That quartet has also accounted for a combined 75 RBIs and 83 runs scored.

The youngsters are also playing great in the field.

Gajewski said with Godwin, OSU is the best it ever has been at first base, pointing to her time as a third baseman in high school.

Timm made a pair of athletic grabs in the outfield on Sunday, and Davis made the defensive play of the day with a diving stop at second base to end an inning.

Despite being swept, it the weekend was a fairly strong showing for the newcomer Knights, losing two games by two runs this weekend. UCF is now 2-4 in conference play after opening their Big 12 journey with a series win against Kansas last weekend.

“They improve our conference,” Gajewski said. “That’s a regional team. They’ll be there at the end. They’ve played a great schedule. They win games. They’ll be fine.”

UCF will further be tested next weekend when it hosts Texas. After a midweek game in Tulsa, the Cowgirls will go test another newcomer next weekend when they head to Provo for a series against BYU.

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