As the No. 6 national seed in the 2023 NCAA DI Softball Championship, the No. 9/9 Oklahoma State softball team (41-14 overall; 10-8 Big 12) hosts America East champion UMBC (26-15 overall), Nebraska (34-20) and Wichita State (43-10) in the NCAA Stillwater Regional at Cowgirl Stadium this weekend.
Action starts Friday as Oklahoma State takes on UMBC at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN+. Wichita State battles Nebraska at 6 p.m. CT on ESPNU.
Watch, Listen, Follow
Each game of the NCAA Stillwater Regional can be seen on the ESPN family of networks with Erin Miller and Matt Schumacker on the call.
Live stats for all of Oklahoma State’s games are available online at statbroadcast.com. Fans can follow @cowgirlsb on Twitter for regular in-game coverage and updates.
In The Rankings
As of May 15, Oklahoma State ranks:
• No. 5 NCAA DI Adjusted Rating Percentage Index
• No. 9 in the USA Today/NFCA DI Top 25 Coaches Poll
• No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25
• No. 11 in the Softball America College Top 25
• No. 12 in the D1Softball Top 25
• No. 13 NCAA DI Strength of Schedule
Oklahoma State From A Distance
In the midst of its third consecutive 40-win season – a feat it has accomplished just three times in its history (1988-90 & 1992-94) – Oklahoma State has earned the No. 6 seed in the 2023 NCAA DI Softball Championship.
2023 marks the fourth consecutive season in which Oklahoma State earned the right to host an NCAA Regional and the third straight season that the Cowgirls have secured a top-eight national seed and the right to host an NCAA Super Regional. In each of the three previous seasons, OSU advanced to the Women's College World Series. This is OSU's seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA DI Softball Championship (which equates to every season of the Gajewski era) and its 25th appearance all time. Seven consecutive trips to the NCAA Championship is the second-longest streak in program history, trailing only the record mark of 11 set from 1988-98.
Leading the way for Oklahoma State on offense is a pair of All-America candidates in Rachel Becker and Kiley Naomi. The graduates form a dynamic middle infield duo and their role in the top half of the OSU batting order has been equally impactful. Becker currently ranks in the top 10 nationally in batting average (.457 – seventh), doubles (20 – second), on-base percentage (.564 – sixth) and hits (74 – 10th). Naomi is further solidifying her name in OSU program record books in her fifth and final year as a Cowgirl. The NCAA DI active career leader in games played (259), the Cowgirls' shortstop has claimed OSU career records for double plays turned, assists and runs scored.
A unanimous 2022 All-American and member of the United States Women's National Team, redshirt senior Kelly Maxwell anchors the Oklahoma State pitching staff as the Big 12 Conference leader in hits allowed per seven innings (3.61), strikeouts (198) and strikeouts per seven innings (11.3).
In its fourth consecutive postseason as an NCAA Regional host, Oklahoma State enters the weekend with a 49-28 all-time record during the Regional round of the NCAA Softball Championship – including wins in each of its last nine Regional games.
Despite a pair of regular season losses to Wichita State, Oklahoma State owns a 86-16 series lead over the Shockers, including 40-6 record in games played in Stillwater.
Taking on Nebraska at the NCAA Stillwater Regional for a second consecutive postseason, Oklahoma State leads the all-time series with the Cornhuskers, 51-48, including a pair of victories earlier this season (10-0 on Feb. 16 in Clearwater, Fla.; 3-1 on Feb. 24 in Las Cruces, N.M.).
OSU meets UMBC for the first time in program history.
Notable Streaks & Trends
• OSU has been ranked in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll in each of its last 258 games, dating back to the start of the 2019 season.
• OSU has played 55 games in 2023, 41 of which have been against top-75 RPI opponents.
• OSU has 10 wins over RPI top 25 opponents.
• OSU has outscored its opponents, 332-136, a +196 run differential. • OSU has outscored its opponents, 68-6, in the first inning.
• OSU has earned 15 wins via run-rule this season.
• OSU has claimed 21 wins by five or more runs this season.
• OSU has held opponents to five runs or less in 47 of its 55 games this season.
• OSU is 33-6 when scoring first and 23-3 when scoring in the first inning.
• OSU is 28-5 when it commits zero errors.
• Rachel Becker reached base safely in 49 consecutive games from February 10 to April 29, the longest on-base streak in OSU program history.
• Kelly Maxwell has recorded 198 of the Cowgirls pitching staff's 391 strikeouts this season, which equates to 50.3 percent of Oklahoma State's strikeouts.
Oklahoma State has positioned itself among the elite in 2023, with the numbers to show for it. As a unit, OSU begins NCAA postseason play with a several top-10 statistical rankings:
• .324 batting average (ninth in NCAA DI).
• 0.53 double plays per game (fifth in NCAA DI).
• 95 doubles (fourth in NCAA DI).
• 1.73 doubles per game (fifth in NCAA DI).
• 205 walks (10th in NCAA DI).
• 19 shutouts (seventh in NCAA DI).
Becker's Batting Bonanza
Graduate infielder Rachel Becker has played at an All-America level in her first season at Oklahoma State and the final season of her collegiate career. The first team All-Big 12 infielder boasts a .564 on-base percentage, which ranks sixth among NCAA DI hitters, while her .457 batting average ranks seventh in NCAA DI.
To The Max
Perhaps the top left-hander in college softball, Kelly Maxwell has anchored the Oklahoma State pitching staff in her second year as the Cowgirls' ace. The redshirt senior earned All-Big 12 first team honors for the second consecutive season thanks in part to leading the conference in hits allowed per seven innings (3.61), strikeouts (197) and strikeouts per seven innings (11.3).
For reference, her 198 strikeouts this season is more than 90 NCAA DI teams.