(STILLWATER, Oklahoma / May 14, 2019) – The Oklahoma State softball team enters the NCAA Tournament this week as a national seed for the first time and the Cowgirls are set to host their first regional in Stillwater since 1998. As the tournament’s No. 13 overall seed, the Pokes will have to go through two regional rivals - Tulsa and Arkansas - as well as the West Coast Conference tournament champs, BYU, to clinch a spot in the super-regional round.
In the Rankings
Oklahoma State is ranked in both national polls this week, as the Cowgirls sit at No. 13 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and at No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. The Cowgirls have been ranked in at least one of the national polls in 26 of the last 28 weeks, peaking as high as No. 12 to post the program's highest standing since finishing the 2011 season at No. 8.
Oklahoma State From a Distance
The 2019 Oklahoma State softball team has lived on both ends of the spectrum so far in 2019. There have been numerous wins over elite programs from across the country, but also a number of disappointing losses to sides that have struggled this year.
It has been an enigmatic group at times for fourth-year head coach Kenny Gajewski, but he knows that, despite his team’s struggles, this year’s group is still a team loaded with talent. There are 21 star student-athletes that make up the 2019 roster, and all will have a role to play in the closing stretch of the season.
Throughout fall camp, winter workouts and the first half of this season, the Cowgirls have fought to break through the glass ceiling of sorts and bring the program back into the national spotlight. They’ve done that on several occasions, picking up four top-15 wins and earning victory 15 times over a team that was either ranked or receiving votes in one of the national polls.
There have been disappointing defeats as well, such as a pair of 2-1 losses to Colorado State and UT Arlington. These moments have been gut checks for a program that has its eyes on Oklahoma City. This year’s team is by far the most talented of Gajewski’s tenure, but they have yet to truly cement their identity.
It’s a group that is smashing home runs at record pace, and one pitching well enough to be in contention to host a regional in Stillwater. But the Cowgirls still have one more ceiling to burst through. It gets more and more difficult to break through the higher you rise, and the 2019 squad is figuring that out now.
With plenty of softball still to be played this year, the Pokes have a chance to find their course and tackle all obstacles in their search for a return to the summit of collegiate softball.
Notable Streaks and Trends
- OSU is 45-29 in games decided by two runs or less since the start of the 2016 season.
- OSU is unbeaten (31-0) in 2019 when scoring five runs or more in a game.
- Oklahoma State is 21-1 this season when hitting two or more home runs in a game.
- Oklahoma State starting pitchers have gone at least five innings in 35 of the Cowgirls' 53 games.
- Oklahoma State is 13-0 in 2019 when Rylee Bayless logs multiple hits as the Cowgirls' leadoff batter.
- Rylee Bayless has drawn 39 walks in 53 games to lead the Big 12 in walks and walks per game.
- Samantha Clakley has allowed more than three earned runs only three times in 25 appearances this year.
- Samantha Clakley has walked more than two batters only six times in her last 53 appearances.
- Madi Sue Montgomery has started 235 consecutive games, never missing one during her OSU career.
- Kiley Naomi has reached base safely in 43 of 53 games so far this season.
- Samantha Show has logged a hit in 38 of 53 games this season and posted 10 multi-hit outings.
- Samantha Show has hit 12 home runs this season when OSU was either tied or trailing, with nine of those being game-tying or go-ahead efforts for OSU.
- Samantha Show has pitched at least five innings in 21 of her 25 starts this year.
- Logan Simunek has starred against the best competition, allowing just 10 earned runs in 31.1 innings against top-10 ranked opposition since the start of the 2018 season.