Miranda Elish did all she could in the circle for Texas.
The pitcher/designated player who has been effective all season from the rubber threw another outstanding pitching performance on Friday in Stillwater. Yet, in a game that turned into the ultimate pitcher’s duel, all it took was a couple miscues in the field, and the Longhorns fell to No. 21 Oklahoma State, 1-0.
After passing the first conference road test against Baylor on Wednesday, the Longhorns got their first ranked matchup in conference play, playing in Stillwater. But the mindset remained the same for the Longhorns.
“We’ve been talking about it all season long, we’re playing ourselves, so it doesn’t matter if we’re playing in the other dugout,” left fielder Kaitlyn Washington said before Friday’s matchup. “If we just stay within ourselves, things will go our way for us. (We need to) not worry about the other team so much, and just focus on ourselves.”
It was quite the challenge for the Longhorns on Friday playing at a field that vastly differs from Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin.
“Their field is a little challenging, it’s not quite level,” Texas head coach Mike White said before Friday’s matchup. “It’s got little dips and valleys in it, a little shorter fence, so that’ll be a test for us.”
All it took was one poor seventh inning to do Texas in. Only giving up two hits and no runs on the day up to that point, Elish had to try to extend the game to extra innings as the Longhorns had still not plated a run.
The seventh got off to a rocky start, though, after Elish advanced the leadoff hitter for her first walk of the day, then the Texas infield mishandled a ground ball that could have turned into a double play, putting two runners on base with none out.
White elected to intentionally walk Cowgirl designated player Taylor Lynch to set up a force out at every base. With no outs and the bases loaded, Oklahoma State first baseman Michaela Richbourg drove a ground ball just past Elish’s glove. Shortstop McKenzie Parker could not make the throw home in time and the Cowgirls scored an unearned run to walk-off with a win in the seventh inning.
It was a night when the Texas offense simply had nothing going for it. Cowgirl starter Samantha Show, who is 11–3 with a 2.02 ERA this season, was stifling on the mound. She did not give up a hit until second baseman Janae Jefferson slapped a single into center in the fourth inning. In the end, she allowed just four hits and didn’t allow a single Texas run to cross the plate. It’s the first time the Longhorns have been shutout this season.
“If we keep up the ‘hunter’ (and not being hunted) mindset, it would be great for us,” Washington said after a win last week.
For Washington and the Texas lineup to make a comeback win of the series, there’s nothing wrong with keeping an aggressive mindset. In Friday’s game, however, the Cowgirls simply caught one more break.