Cowgirls Sweep No. 4 Missouri

Columbia, Mo. – Freshman Kat Espinosa threw a three-hit shutout and Oklahoma State’s 15th-ranked Cowgirl softball team swept the fourth-ranked Missouri Tigers 8-3 and 1-0 here Saturday afternoon in Big 12 Conference action.

Espinosa scattered three hits while striking out five and walking just one in picking up her 12th victory of the season. The Houston, Texas, native worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first and retired 10 consecutive Tiger batters before issuing her only walk of the game with two outs in the fifth. The only other base runner allowed by Espinosa was Catherine Lee, who singled with two outs in the sixth.

Oklahoma State scored its only run of the game in the top of the fourth. With one out, cleanup hitter Julie Ward and catcher Tamara Brown hit back-to-back doubles. Megan Castle had a base hit to move Brown to third, but Amy Graham grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Oklahoma State won the first game after a nearly 22-hour rain delay. The game began Friday afternoon and was tied 3-3 in the top of the fourth inning when it was suspended due to rain. Missouri took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on three-consecutive base hits with nobody out. A squeeze bunt by Megan Christopher plated the third run in Marla Schweisberger, who hit the second of back-to-back doubles.

A bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Julie Ward scored Kelsey Anchors in the top of the third to make the score 3-1. Shortstop Chelsea Garcia tied the game up with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth with one out and Kelsey Anchors was at the plate when the game was postponed.

The contest resumed at noon on Saturday, and the Cowgirls took a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning on a two-run double by pinch hitter Sam Heinlein, her fifth hit of the season. The senior from Edmond, Okla., was hitting just .129 entering the weekend but had hit well with runners in scoring position.

Oklahoma State added two more runs in the sixth. Mariah Gearhart scored on a base hit by Ward after being hit by her 20th pitch of the season and moving up on a sacrifice bunt by Katelyn Bright. Ward scored all the way from first after pitcher Jana Hainey fielded a ground ball from Brown but threw it over the head of first baseman Lindsey Muller and into foul territory. Brown was eventually thrown out on the play rounding third base.

Cowgirl senior Anna Whiddon threw a complete game, and gave up all three runs on Friday night. Once the game resumed on Saturday, she retired 10 straight batters before giving up a walk and a base hit in the seventh. She struck out pinch hitter Kathryn Poet to end the game and improve to 17-3.

Oklahoma State (32-7 overall, 4-0 Big 12) will host the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners (29-8, 3-1) on Wednesday, April 7, at 7 p.m. at Cowgirl Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.

Updated 04-03-2010

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