OSU softball: Bats come alive to carry Cowgirls to Big 12 title game
Oklahoma State’s Raquel Dominguez, a part-time starting catcher, hadn’t hit a home run all season when she sent a fly ball sailing over the left field fence with one out in the second inning Friday evening.
What better way to follow up her first home run of her OSU career than with her second — in the same inning.
The second-seeded Cowgirls hit five home runs in the inning and seven in the game to defeat fifth-seeded Iowa State 17-2 in pool play of the Big 12 Tournament at the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex.
The win, which followed a 6-2 victory over Texas earlier in the day, earned OSU a spot in Saturday’s title game at 4 p.m.
Rylee Bayless, Samantha Show, Michaela Richbourg, Sydney Springfield and Kiley Naomi each hit home runs as OSU set school records for home runs in an inning and in a game.
Dominguez, a sophomore, finished with four runs batted in, matching her season total before Friday.
“I was just calm up there,” Dominguez said. “Coach G (Kenny Gajewski) this week was like, ‘Just hit the ball hard,’ so I took that into consideration and I was just trying to relax.”
Springfield, who is often Gajewski’s first option off the bench, drove in the go-ahead runs as a pinch-hitter in the middle of the six-run sixth inning that propelled OSU past Texas on a day when some overshadowed Cowgirls stepped into the spotlight.
“It’s a hard job,” Gajewski said of Springfield in the pinch-hitting role. “She stays in-tune. I try to give her as much heads-up as I can. She does a good job of staying even-keel and the moment’s never too big.”
A week after the bats were mostly silenced while getting swept by Oklahoma, Friday’s big outbursts were what the Cowgirls needed.
“It’s that mentality that we all have,” Dominguez said. “We’re just gonna keep going, just keep passing the bat.
“This was big. We all knew we would get our confidence back quickly. We had a rough outing against OU, but with the mentality of this team, there was no doubt that we were gonna come back from that.”