Showtime: Cowgirls Ride Excellent Pitching To Beat Seminoles
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - When two great pitchers face two prolific offenses, it all comes down to who’s good at the right time.
For Oklahoma State pitcher Samantha Show, almost every time was the right time. Show turned in a career performance from the circle, holding Florida State (54-9) to just one run on five hits as her team hung on long enough to pick up the 3-1 win in nine innings.
Michaela Richbourg provided the extra-inning heroics for the Cowgirls (43-14), following up a leadoff double from Madi Sue Montgomery with a two-run shot that gave OSU its first lead of the game and sent Seminoles starter Meghan King to the dugout.
“I talked to Coach Jeff [Cottrill] right before that last inning and we were talking about making an adjustment… he told me just to go back like I was at Baylor putting my bat to the ball, short-swing, and just hit it like I did there,” Richbourg said after the game.
Making adjustments in a timely manner was a critical theme that both head coaches harped on after the game, pointing out how critical it is to pick up an edge of any kind against the elite pitching that necessarily comes out in the playoffs.
The Seminoles struggled against Show and her strategic deployment of pitches as the game went on; after catcher Anna Shelnutt singled to lead off the fourth inning, Show was perfect over the next six innings as she retired the final 18 batters of the game. FSU head coach Lonni Alameda acknowledged that Show’s trickiness on the mound muddled her staff’s game plan.
“I think she tucked the rise ball away earlier… then she started throwing the drop ball and we started to ground out quite a bit, and then she brought the change-up late which messes with your game-plan a bit,” Alameda stated.
Thursday night marked Show’s longest outing of the season and third complete game in postseason play. The senior kept the explosive Seminoles offense in the park, allowing just one extra-base hit as FSU struggled to figure out her off-speed pitches later in the game.
“[The Seminoles] are great hitters and I knew that they were going to put the bat on the ball and score runs, so I could not think about being too perfect… I just knew that if I kept FSU at one or two runs, we would be fine,” Show said.
As they’ve been prone to do in the postseason, Florida State drew first blood when Makinzy Herzog’s roller proved too much to handle for Show, plating Dani Morgan for their only run of the game. Show came back to stop the heart of the “Cardiac Kids” offense, and allowed just three baserunners the rest of the way to give the Cowgirls time to chip their way into the game.
Oklahoma State failed to find an offensive rhythm until the sixth inning, picking up just two hits as Meghan King fanned seven Cowgirls in the first five frames. Chelsea Alexander turned the tide with a leadoff double to left, and Madi Sue Montgomery’s sacrifice fly would bring her home to tie the game.
Despite the frustrating outcome, Alameda remained confident that her team would be able to bounce back in time for tomorrow’s Game 2. She noted the importance of mentally “flushing” today’s results, a skill that King and other upperclassmen have honed through their past playoff runs.
Meanwhile, Cowgirls head coach Kenny Gajewski beamed with confidence surrounding his team’s performance. He discussed the importance of the team being comfortable playing as they usually would, while giving a rather humorous insight into his group’s preparation for tomorrow’s game.
“We are going to be us… We are just going to go back and eat dinner and get up in the morning, and probably go shopping because we like to shop,” Gajewski quipped.
While the Cowgirls’ wallets might take a hit Friday morning, the team will hope to record plenty of hits that night. Offense looks to be at a premium in this series, and both teams will be ready to jump on the ball as they prepare for Game 2. The Cowgirls will try to reach the Women’s College World Series for the first time since 2011, while the Seminoles will seek to avoid elimination and force a third game on Saturday.