STILLWATER — The final out hung for several seconds high above Cowgirl Stadium, giving Oklahoma State second baseman Madi Sue Montgomery more time to soak in what was about to happen.
“I thought it was never going to come down,” Montgomery said. “It felt like it was up there forever. It was a really cool moment. I knew when we caught that, we could celebrate.”
With an efficient 2-1 win against Tulsa in Saturday’s final, the 13th-seeded Cowgirls weathered a challenging regional to secure the program’s first NCAA super regional berth since 2011.
“This is why we came here, to get this program back on the national stage,” fourth-year coach Kenny Gajewski said. “I don’t think we’re one of those elite teams yet, but we’re working to get to that point.”
As the host team, OSU (42-14) finished 3-0 in the regional. Its next opponent and location for its upcoming games will not be set until Sunday, when the winner of the regional in Tallahassee, Florida, will be determined.
After heavy rain pushed back the start time an hour and a half, the Cowgirls trailed 1-0 in the early going. Tulsa’s Julia Hollingsworth started the game with a double and scored on a groundout by Alexis Perry.
Unflappable TU freshman pitcher Chenise Delce, who surrendered two runs on six hits in six innings, had to endure lengthy at-bats because of foul balls. In the first inning, she threw a dozen pitches to top hitter Samantha Show, who fouled off 10 of them.
“Those (long at-bats) are tough,” Delce said. “I just kept trying to pitch strikes and try not to walk too many people this game like I did the last one.”
Delce kept OSU from scoring until the bottom of the third, when Montgomery delivered a two-out RBI double. The next inning, Sydney Springfield had a two-out RBI single, and that’s all the Cowgirls needed.
TU, which ended its season at 37-20, didn’t go quietly, providing drama in the seventh. Rylie Spell singled, and a crucial sequence occurred on a reversed call that would have been a double play.
Montgomery attempted to tag the Hurricane runner headed to second before throwing to first, but the umpires convened and determined the ball was pulled from her glove before the tag.
The Hurricane advanced to third on a pair of groundouts, but OSU quickly ended the threat and secured the final out on a fly ball. Show (19-7) gave up four hits in seven innings.
“I want to commend them (OSU) on a great year that they’ve had,” TU coach John Bargfeldt said. “It’s fun to compete against them. They’re a very talented group, and it raises our level of play whenever we play them. Shout-out to them and good luck to them as they go on.”
For TU, the loss was the conclusion of a stellar career for a senior class that won four conference titles and made four NCAA regional appearances.
“It’s been a ride to remember,” Hollingsworth said. “We’ve come together, worked really well, found our strengths and played off of them. We’ve really worked as a team for all the success. We weren’t just riding on particular players. We had to come together, and I kind of like that.”
Oklahoma State 2, Tulsa 1
TU 100 000 0 -- 1 4 1
OSU 001 100 X -- 2 6 1
Delce and Spell; Show and Thomas. W: Show (19-7). L: Delce (15-6).