CLEARWATER, Florida – The No. 20 Oklahoma State softball team split its Friday doubleheader at the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational, falling to Notre Dame, 6-0, in the opener and besting Utah, 8-1, in the nightcap.
OSU (5-3; 0-0 Big 12) has won five of its last eight games at the Florida-based tournament after posting a 4-1 mark in Clearwater last season.
"It was a long day at the field, but definitely had a good end after a really bad beginning," coach Kenny Gajewski said. "In that first game, I have really nothing good to say. We didn't play well in any facet of that game. But I'm very happy with the way we bounced back. It was really led by a big home run in the first inning by Kiley (Naomi). She just continues to have a really good freshman campaign - she's playing well and getting better each day."
The Cowgirls jumped on the board quickly in Friday's nightcap against Utah, as freshman Kiley Naomi smashed a two-run home run over the center-field fence in the top of the first inning to give OSU the early edge. It was the second home run of Naomi's career and extended her hitting streak to seven consecutive games.
Naomi is one of three Cowgirls riding an impressive hitting streak right now, as Samantha Show recorded a double against Notre Dame and two base knocks against the Utes to continue her eight-game run. Meanwhile, Taylor Lynch, playing with a torn left ACL, posted two base hits in Friday's opener and an RBI in the night cap to match Show's 2019 streak.
Lynch's active hitting streak currently stands at 11 games and dates back to the start of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional last season. It is the 22nd time a Cowgirl has recorded a hitting streak of at least 10 games, and Lynch is nearly halfway to the 23-game program record she set as a freshman in 2016.
Oklahoma State continued to pad its lead in the top of the third inning when the Cowgirls erupted for five runs, which was started by the streak-extending RBI single from Lynch.
Sophomore Michaela Richbourg quickly followed Lynch by blasting a two-run home run to the opposite field, and then Rylee Bayless polished off the rally with a two-run double to the wall in left center. Bayless finished 2-for-3 with the two-RBI double and a walk against Utah Friday.
Logan Simunek handled starting duties in the circle for OSU, and she delivered a gem after a slightly rocky start. Simunek surrendered Utah's lone run of the game in the first inning, but retired 11 straight Utes after the first-inning RBI. She pitched 5.1 innings of the contest, surrendering just five hits, allowing only the one run and walking none.
"I thought Logan was really good in the circle tonight," Gajewski said. "She really set the tone and just pounded that (strike) zone, and we made some great plays behind her like I know we can. It was a better finish to a start that just didn't go our way."
Samantha Show took over in the circle after Simunek departed and she buried Utah with a strong five-out relief effort.
Show also was a key cog in the OSU lineup across both matchups Friday, as she collected three hits, including a double down the right-field line in the opener against Notre Dame.
The Texas A&M transfer's double was one of four hits OSU notched off Notre Dame starter Alexis Holloway. Lynch and Naomi - the two other Cowgirls riding early-season hitting streaks - were the suppliers of the other three Cowgirl hits against the Irish in the afternoon.
Madi Sue Montgomery also continued to see opposing pitchers well at the plate Friday, as she drew a walk off Holloway - her eighth of the year. Montgomery has walked at least once in six of eight games this season.
Oklahoma State will wrap up its second weekend of the 2019 season tomorrow with a doubleheader against California and Hofstra. The Cowgirls' clash with Cal will begin no sooner than 12 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN3, with the Hofstra matchup set for 3 p.m. CT on Field #3 of the Moore Softball Complex.
Cowgirls Earn First Elite Invitational Victory
February 18, 2019 by OSU Athletics