Longhorns bounce Cowgirls, advance to WCWS championship series to face OU

Longhorns bounce Cowgirls, advance to WCWS championship series to face OU

OKLAHOMA CITY — Karli Petty clubbed the 3-2 pitch into the night sky and roughly 10 rows deep into the right field bleachers in the third inning of Game 2 Monday night, and for a moment, it was all on track for Oklahoma State.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Karli Petty clubbed the 3-2 pitch into the night sky and roughly 10 rows deep into the right field bleachers in the third inning of Game 2 Monday night, and for a moment, it was all on track for Oklahoma State.

On Petty’s blast, the seventh-seeded Cowgirls led Texas 5-0 in the elimination game inside the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, 12 outs away from a first-ever Women’s College World Series championship appearance. Then, as quickly as Petty’s third home run of the postseason left park, it all came crashing down on OSU.

Three defensive errors from the Cowgirls’ third-in-the-nation defense in two calamitous innings. Six unanswered Longhorns runs; three in the fourth, three in the fifth. In a flash, OSU’s 2022 campaign and its WCWS title hopes fell to pieces.

Three defensive errors from the Cowgirls’ third-in-the-nation defense in two calamitous innings. Six unanswered Longhorns runs; three in the fourth, three in the fifth. In a flash, OSU’s 2022 campaign and its WCWS title hopes fell to pieces.

“To make three errors was tough to watch and tough to take,” said Cowgirls coach Kenny Gajewski. “We were trying to win and that's the bottom line. We just didn't make the plays when it counted. We weren't very clean. We didn't pitch clean. We didn't play defense clean. We didn't have enough good at-bats.”

The Cowgirls (48-14) entered Monday’s semifinal matchup needing only a win to secure a Bedlam date with top-seeded Oklahoma in this week’s WCWS championship series. But a tepid Game 1 performance gave way to the Game 2 unraveling and a sudden end to Gajewski’s seventh campaign at OSU in a 6-5 loss in Oklahoma City.

Monday’s back-to-back defeats marked the finish line for a Cowgirls team that earned the program’s first-ever Big 12 Conference championship and matched the record win total under Gajewski this spring, but again fell short on the WCWS stage in 2022. Texas (47-20-1), now 6-0 in elimination games this spring, advances to face top-seeded Oklahoma in the best-of-three championship series, which begins Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

“There's not much that you can go back and fix this, fix that,” said outfielder Chelsea Alexander. But like (teammates Sydney Pennington) said, it is what it is. And you look back on our season and how well we continued to set the bar higher.

“There's not much that you can go back and fix this, fix that,” said outfielder Chelsea Alexander. But like (teammates Sydney Pennington) said, it is what it is. And you look back on our season and how well we continued to set the bar higher.

“We let it get away from us and just couldn't push some more runs across. Credit Texas. They took advantage when we didn't.”

“We let it get away from us and just couldn't push some more runs across. Credit Texas. They took advantage when we didn't.”

The Longhorns forced the second game Monday only after Texas lefty Estelle Czech silenced the Cowgirls bats, limiting OSU to four hits over 7.0 scoreless innings in the 5-0, Game 1 victory. OSU right-hander Morgan Day (13-5) got the nod in Game 1 and allowed five runs on five hits over 6.0 innings in her WCWS debut.