Cowgirls One Win Away From WCWS Berth

Oklahoma State is one win away from returning to the NCAA Women's College World Series for the first time since 1998. The Cowgirls defeated Houston 3-0 in the first game of the Super Regional on Friday night at Cowgirl Stadium, and will be looking to advance to the WCWS with one more win in the best-of-three series when the two teams meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Cowgirls improved to 41-17 behind the pitching of Houston native Kat Espinosa, who allowed the Cougars 10 hits but worked out of trouble inning after inning Friday night. Senior Sarah Odom came on in relief in the seventh inning to record the final two outs to put the Cowgirls one win away from ending the 12-year WCWS drought.

OSU gave Espinosa and Odom all the runs they would need in the first inning when Mariah Gearhart led off with a single, advanced to send on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Julie Ward's two-out double for a 1-0 lead.

The Cowgirls added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Alysia Hamilton and Ward opened with singles and advanced to third and second on Tamara Brown's two-out groundout to second. Ashley Boyd then drove a pitch over the outstretched glove of Houston centerfielder Ashleigh Jones for a double to score both Hamilton and Ward.

Espinosa struck out just one while allowing 10 hits but she improved her record to 23-7 by getting the big out when necessary. The Cougars stranded 10 runners, including two in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

The Cowgirls only managed six hits but that was enough to get the job done and put head coach Rich Wieligman's team within one victory of advancing to Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City for the Women's College World Series.

The two teams meet again at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and a second game would be played immediately after if Houston wins to tie the series.

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