OSU softball: Late home runs power Cowgirl comeback over Tulsa
STILLWATER — Chyenne Factor’s grand slam narrowly cleared the left-field fence. Samantha Show’s three-run homer nearly reached McElroy Road.
Distance aside, the two crucial home runs helped the Cowgirls rally for a 13-10 victory over Tulsa in an erratic game Friday afternoon to advance to the finals of the Stillwater softball regional at Cowgirl Stadium.
OSU will face the winner of Friday's late game between Tulsa and BYU in Saturday's final at 3 p.m. OSU needs to win once in two potential games Saturday to advance to its first super-regional since 2011.
OSU led 4-0 Friday before Tulsa charged to an 8-5 lead. The Cowgirls responded with a five-run sixth inning that started with Raquel Dominguez’s solo homer and ended with Factor’s grand slam.
Factor, a true freshman playing in just her second NCAA postseason game, hasn’t looked anything like a rookie. She had two hits in Thursday’s opener and finished 2-for-4 Friday.
“This cat has no nerves,” OSU coach Kenny Gajewski said of his center fielder. “I don’t even think her heart rate has changed.”
Show was 2-for-5, hitting her 18th — and possibly longest — home run of the season. Her seventh-inning blast bounced just a few feet short of the street well behind the left-field fence.
“I knew I hit that ball pretty well,” said Show, the senior transfer from Texas A&M. “I don’t watch it go all the way, even that one. I look toward the dugout. I wanted to see everyone’s reaction, and everyone was freakin’ pumped, so that was really cool to watch.”
The three-run homer turned out to be more valuable than it seemed at the time, when Tulsa’s Haley Meinen led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run that otherwise would have tied the game.
OSU relief pitcher Logan Simunek worked through some early control issues to earn the win. After starter Samantha Clakley gave up five runs on four hits through 2 2/3 innings, Simunek entered and went the rest of the way.
In the fourth, she walked three straight batters, two of them with the bases loaded, and allowed five runs in all.
But Gajewski stuck with his No. 3 pitcher, rather than going to Show or Gabby Sprang, who warmed up in the bullpen.
“I like to rest (Show) if I can,” Gajewski said. “We need her for the next three weeks.
“And we needed Logan. I need her for next year. I’m trying to build a program that’s sustainable, and she’s got to learn how to fight through and grind … It was a big moment for her and her growth, so I’m really happy for the way she fought through it.”