The Oklahoma State University softball team will face their toughest competition of the season when it plays No. 5 Florida, No. 16 UCLA and No. 20 Stanford in the Cathedral City Classic Thursday through Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif. The Cowgirls are looking to increase their scoring output.
“We’re getting there,” Oklahoma State coach Rich Wieligman said. “Our at-bats got better as the weekend went along. I look forward to us making strides and keep getting more consistent scoring runs.”
Oklahoma State (5-4) is coming off a 3-2 performance in last week’s Lovelace Invitational. Offensively, the Cowgirls had some bright spots, scoring eight runs against North Texas and hitting a grand slam against Dayton. OSU made some changes to its lineup as Amy Graham started at first base. Wieligman said he is still trying to find the best lineup.
“It’s only two weekends into the season,” Wieligman said. “We are going to continue to do that until we can settle in on a really strong lineup.”
Senior Samantha Chrisman was a key run producer with two doubles, a home run and 7 RBIs. Her play earned her all-tournament honors. Tarah Ettinger also earned All-Tournament honors.
The Cowgirls had strong performances from their pitchers. Junior Simone Freeman went 3-0 and only gave up five runs. Freeman also had better command as she walked five and struck out 26. Kat Espinosa went 0-2 on the weekend with her two losses coming in extra innings. Both of those games, Oklahoma State didn’t score in the first seven innings.
“(Freeman) does a great job moving the ball,” Wieligman said. “I think the first weekend wasn’t indicative of what we are going to see from her. I think the second weekend was more like what we are looking forward to seeing.
“Kat threw the ball exceptionally well too. We just need to find a way to get runs. Our pitching staff and defense is doing well, we just have to get more runs than the other team.”
Oklahoma State opens with Florida at 3 p.m. Thursday and followed by BYU at 5:30 p.m. Friday, the Cowgirls play Stanford at 10:30 p.m. OSU ends the tournament Saturday playing UCLA at 4:30 p.m. and Long Beach State at 9:30 p.m.
Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress.