With a new program record for the best start through 40 games, the No. 3/3 Oklahoma State softball team (37-3; 6-0 Big 12) resumes Big 12 play as it invites the Iowa State Cyclones (13-23; 1-8 Big 12) to Stillwater for a three-game conference series from April 14-16.
Friday's game is slated for a 6 p.m. CT first pitch. On Saturday, fans are welcome to Cowgirl Grove as the Cowgirls and Cyclones go at it at 2 p.m. CT. The series finale on Sunday is set for 12 p.m. CT.
Watch, Listen, Follow
Each of Oklahoma State's games against Iowa State this weekend can be streamed on ESPN+ with Ali McCutcheon and Casey Kendrick on the call and can be heard on stillwaterradio.net or The Varsity Network with Bill Van Ness 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 April 14, Oklahoma State ranks:
• No. 3 in the NCAA DI Adjusted Rating Percentage Index.
• No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA DI Top 25 Coaches Poll.
• No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25.
• No. 3 in the Softball America NCAA Division I Softball Top 25.
• No. 3 in the D1Softball Top 25.
Oklahoma State From A Distance
Six starters are back from a 2022 Oklahoma State team that put together a 40-win season, which ended at the Women’s College World Series for an NCAA era program record third consecutive year. Five
of OSU’s returning starters were also starters on the Cowgirls’ 2021 WCWS team and two of them started for OSU during its 2019 WCWS appearance.
Returning for the Cowgirls are All-Americans Kelly Maxwell and Katelynn Carwile, as well as a pair of graduate veterans and All-Big 12 regulars Chyenne Factor and Kiley Naomi. Impact newcomers include two-time All-Big Ten honoree and All-American infielder Rachel Becker, All-SEC Newcomer and All-Region pitcher Lexi Kilyfoyl and 2022 NFCA DI Freshman of the Year finalist Megan Bloodworth.
A talented freshman class – including six members of the Extra Inning Softball Elite 100 – enter the mix. Tallen Edwards (No. 3 overall), Haidyn Sokoloski (No. 17 overall) and Kyra Aycock (No. 26 overall) are all likely candidates to see meaningful playing time in their first year with the Cowgirls. Angelina Craig, Katie Lott, Lexi McDonald and Claire Timm round out the 20th ranked signing class in the country, per Extra Inning Softball.
Against Big 12 Conference for Iowa State, Oklahoma State owns a 79-24 series lead, including each of the two of the last three. As the head coach of the Cowgirls, Kenny Gajewski is 19-3 against the Cyclones.
A season ago, the Cowgirls dropped game one versus the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, before bouncing back to win the next two by a combined score of 16-4 to secure the series victory, one of five series wins for the 2022 Cowgirls.
Notable Streaks & Trends
• OSU has been ranked in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll in each of its last 243 games, dating back to the start of the 2019 season.
• OSU has a 10-2 record against top 25 RPI opponents.
• OSU has outscored its opponents 282-82, a +200 run differential.
• OSU has outscored its opponents 61-3 in the first inning.
• OSU has scored first in 32 of its 40 contests this season.
• OSU has committed zero errors in 26 of its 40 games this season.
• OSU has earned 13 of its 37 wins this season via run-rule.
• OSU has claimed 19 of its 37 wins this season by five or more runs.
• OSU has held opponents to five runs or less in 34 of its 40 games this season.
• Rachel Becker has reached base safely at least once in each of the Cowgirls’ 40 games this season.
• Kelly Maxwell has recorded 147 of the Cowgirls pitching staff's 292 strikeouts this season, which equates to 50.3 percent of Oklahoma State's strikeouts.
With their shutout victory over UT Arlington on April 12, the 2023 Cowgirls set a record for the best 40-game start in program history at 37-3, besting the previous record of 36-4 set by the 1998 Cowgirls.
In its record-breaking 40-game start, Oklahoma State has claimed 10 wins over ranked teams, earned 13 of its victories via run rule and won 18 times in shutout fashion.
Built For The Big 12
After grinding through a nonconference slate ranked No. 21 nationally, the reigning Big 12 champion Cowgirls have opened Big 12 play with a series sweeps of then-No. 20/22 Baylor and Kansas.
Oklahoma State has outscored its Big 12 opponents 35-12 and outhit them 47-32. The Cowgirls' pitching staff boasts a 1.45 team ERA against conference opposition.
Oklahoma State has positioned itself among the elite in 2023, with the numbers to show for it.
As a unit, OSU enters its conference series against Iowa State with a plethora of top-10 statistical rankings:
• .347 batting average (third in NCAA DI).
• .441 on-base percentage (third in NCAA DI).
• .983 fielding percentage (second in NCAA DI).
• 18 shutouts (fourth in NCAA DI).
• .925 win percentage (second in NCAA DI).
• 7.05 runs per game (eighth in NCAA DI).
Becker's Batting Bonanza
Graduate infielder Rachel Becker has played at an All-American caliber in her first season at Oklahoma State and the final season of her collegiate career. Her .628 on-base percentage ranks second among all NCAA DI hitters, while her .500 batting average ranks third in NCAA DI.
After back-to-back seasons with a batting average above .400 in her junior and senior seasons at Purdue, Becker's continued and consistent success comes as no surprise. She leads Oklahoma State in multi-hit games with 16: 14 two-hit games and two three-hit performances.
Becker has also pieced together an 18-game hitting streak from February 11 to March 5 and an active 16-game hitting streak dating back to March 17, which are two longest by any Cowgirl this season.
To The Max
In All-American form, Kelly Maxwell has anchored the Oklahoma State pitching staff in her second year as the Cowgirls' ace. The redshirt senior lefty leads the Big 12 Conference in hits allowed per seven innings (2.90), saves (5), strikeouts (147) and strikeouts per seven innings (11.7).
For reference, her 147 strikeouts this season is more than 100 NCAA DI teams.