Karli Petty rewards Oklahoma State’s religion in her vs. Arizona in WCWS opener

With two runners on base and his workforce trailing by a run within the backside of the sixth inning, Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski thought it is likely to be time to pinch-hit for Karli Petty.

The junior second baseman had struck out and popped out to shortstop in her first two at-bats, and Gajewski was ready to drag the set off.

“Let’s let her go,” his intestine instructed him. “She just needs another at-bat.”

Seventh-seeded Oklahoma State defeated unseeded Arizona 4-2 within the first spherical of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday evening as a result of, first, Gajewski trusted his intestine, and second, Petty delivered the largest hit of her profession.

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Petty, who performed highschool ball at Southmoore, simply 18 miles away from USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium, hit a three-run dwelling run that cast the Cowgirls (47-12) forward to a winner’s bracket recreation, the place they’ll face 14th-seeded Florida (49-17) at 6 p.m. Saturday.

After leaving the bases loaded within the backside of the fifth, trailing 2-1, the evening was starting to look grim for the Cowgirls as they struggled to interrupt via towards Arizona pitcher Hanah Bowen.

But within the sixth, after falling behind 0-2 within the depend, OSU’s Miranda Elish battled again to attract a leadoff stroll, reaching base for the third time of the sport. Then Sydney Pennington acquired her second hit of the evening, a pointy single that was misplayed by the proper fielder, permitting the runners to succeed in second and third.

That set the desk for Petty.

“Going up to bat, I just knew with runners in scoring position, I needed to at least put the ball in play somewhere,” Petty stated. “I really just focused on getting on top and driving it through the middle.”

The center is strictly the place she drove it, crushing a knee-high, outdoors pitch to straight-away heart area, simply left of the 220-foot signal for her fifth homer of the 12 months and second in as many video games.

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Oklahoma State's Karli Petty (14) celebrates a home run in the sixth inning during a Women's College World Series softball game between the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls and the University of Arizona Wildcats at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June, 2, 2022.

Oklahoma State’s Karli Petty (14) celebrates a house run within the sixth inning throughout a Women’s College World Series softball recreation between the Oklahoma State University Cowgirls and the University of Arizona Wildcats at USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June, 2, 2022.

It was Petty’s seventh hit within the final 5 video games, 4 of which have gone for further bases as she has emerged as one of many workforce’s most harmful hitters throughout the NCAA Tournament.

OSU pitcher Kelly Maxwell — who had been distinctive apart from one mistake that led to a two-run Arizona homer within the high of the fifth inning — gave up a leadoff single to begin the seventh, however struck out the following three batters to seal it.

Maxwell (19-4) allowed two runs — her first runs allowed because the Big 12 Tournament — on 5 hits with two walks and 14 strikeouts. She now has 55 strikeouts over 27 ⅔ innings pitched within the NCAA Tournament.

Maxwell’s early dominance helped disguise a number of the Cowgirls’ offensive struggles. They took a 1-0 lead with a double by Elish and an RBI single by Pennington, who was thrown out going for a double, within the backside of the fourth.

“I was a little disappointed in the way we started this game.” Gajewski stated. “They came out hacking and we didn’t.

“We’re swinging at balls over our head on first pitches. We were just kind of out of character. I don’t know if we were trying to do too much or if it was just the moment.”

Gajewski pulled his workforce collectively within the fourth inning for a fast message.

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“Hey, we gotta chill out,” he instructed them. “Kelly’s pitching good. We just need to give some good at-bats here.”

And his veterans responded.

“It’s cool to see Pennington do what she did here today,” Gajewski stated. “Elish is just Elish. The moment is never too big. And then Karli, she has been going very, very well here.”

Through highschool and faculty, Petty has performed an honest variety of video games at Hall of Fame Stadium, even homered within the stadium earlier than, having performed a number of state match video games and final 12 months’s WCWS — however nothing that matched the magnitude of Thursday evening, with a session-record 12,320 followers filling the stands and the sport on the road.

“I won state a couple times here, and slowpitch state here, and I played travel ball here,” Petty stated. “It’s really nice to come back to a place that’s really familiar, and it’s even better to come back with over 12,000 fans. It’s really exciting to see how much this place has grown from when I was little growing up.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be in this moment in all aspects of my life.”

NCAA softball scoreboard

This article initially appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State Cowgirls beat Arizona Wildcats in WCWS NCAA softball

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