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WCWS Game 6: Oklahoma State Rolls, Ends Utah’s Magical Run

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Kenny Gajewski said his Oklahoma State team looked like a junior varsity squad at times following its Thursday night run-rule loss to Florida State. Yet, he had no doubt that his team would respond on Friday. The Cowgirls sure did.

Oklahoma State wasted no time putting together an eight-run lead after two innings on its way to an 8-0 run-rule win over Utah. The eight runs were the most scored for the Cowgirls in Oklahoma City ever.

It felt like everything bounced Oklahoma State’s way. At one point, Gajewski had his hat in his hands as he was upset at Taylor Tuck for not advancing on Megan Bloodworth’s sacrifice bunt attempt. Well, Bloodworth ended up running out the bunt and everyone was safe. It was just that type of night for the Cowgirls, they simply could do no wrong.

“I told our team after last night’s game that I couldn’t wait to see what their response would be,” Gajewski said. “I had a good feeling. Not sure I could tell you we were going to come out and run rule. But I figured we’d play well. There’s too much experience here. There’s just too much talent here. There’s too many great kids and great coaches. I felt good. I felt good all day. Excellent pitching. Defense making plays. We hit the ball like I know that we can. When we do that, we’re pretty dang good.”

The lineup tends to go when Rachel Becker and Kiley Naomi are on. When both worked full-count walks against Sydney Sandez in the first, it was probably going to be a good night. Especially when Katelynn Carwile got the monkey off her back. Last year at what Women’s College World Series, the breakout star went 0-for-8 and was even benched for the final game against Texas. When she hit a ball through the right side for a two-RBI single in the first, it certainly seemed like a sigh of relief. Carwile drove in another run in the second.

Oklahoma State opened the floodgates in that second inning. With Tuck and Bloodworth reaching base to start the frame, that gave the top of the order an opportunity. Becker, Naomi and Chyenne Factor proceeded to hit three straight singles. By the time Morgyn Wynee hit a double, it was already a seven-run lead.

“There was like a refresh vibe. We kind of just left yesterday in the past and we came out today wanting to play OSU softball,” Wynee said. “That was really the only focus that we had today. For it to go exactly how we wanted it to in the first inning right out of the gate, that was a true testament to everything we talk about on a daily basis.”

Oklahoma State’s six-run second was the difference (Crash Kamon/D1Softball)

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Lexi Kilfoyl spun another gem. For four innings, she only allowed one hit. Now she got a bit of help from the wind in the first inning. It appeared that Utah’s Julia Jimenez might have lifted a two-run homer but by the time Factor was at the warning track, she started to step inward as the ball lost juice.

Nevertheless, Kilfoyl picked up where she left off from her outing against Oregon. Her drop ball prevented the deadly Utah lineup from getting on track. Even in the fifth inning, she was able to get out of a jam and preserve the run rule, which sets up the Cowgirls nicely for a losers’ bracket run. Despite the Utes getting runners on second and third without an out, Kilfoyl snarred a line drive back at her, picked up one of her three strikeouts and ended the game on a grounder to shut out the Utes.

Utah fans and others will probably have a gripe about the Utes having to play twice on Friday. It did have an effect on the Utes. Mariah Lopez has carried the Utah pitching staff. She had thrown in every game this postseason including six innings in the earlier loss to Washington. After throwing 100-plus pitches, she did not get the ball again. But the other option would’ve been the near-midnight start that Oklahoma State and Florida State endured in 2021. Unfortunately, it was a pick-your-poison type of deal due to the weather.

What’s next

Now with a day of rest and Kelly Maxwell only throwing two innings on Thursday, the lefty will likely get the ball against the loser of Oklahoma and Tennessee on Sunday. The Sooners and Lady Vols will start Saturday’s winners’ bracket games at 3 p.m. ET on ABC. Followed by Florida State and Washington on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

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