No. 6 Oklahoma State didn’t start ace Kelly Maxwell, but Miranda Elish wasn’t a bad option either.
Elish threw a six-hitter and collected eight strikeouts as the Cowgirls rolled to a 6-1 win over Baylor in Friday night’s series opener at Getterman Stadium.
Elish (8-4) formerly pitched at Oregon and Texas, so she was familiar to Baylor’s veterans. The right-hander’s command was tremendous as she walked just one batter to lead the Cowgirls (26-6, 4-0) to their ninth straight win.
“She’s a good pitcher who moves it around the zone,” said Baylor coach Glenn Moore. “I know how good she is because we’ve seen her before and watched her on film. Her numbers all match up well with the quality of pitcher she is. I think had we played better defensively and done some things, we would have had a chance there at the end.”
Baylor ace Dariana Orme (6-9) gave up seven hits, two walks and four earned runs in six innings as the Bears (17-15, 0-4) dropped their fifth straight game after opening Big 12 play with three losses to No. 1 Oklahoma last weekend in Norman.
“Not a clean game, but a competitive game,” Moore said. “They’re a great lineup, as we know, and I thought she got a lot of good results. We fought hard, but I thought her performance was pretty good considering the lineup we were facing.”
The Cowgirls came out playing aggressive softball as leadoff hitter Brianna Evans beat out an infield single. Kiley Naomi followed with a double and scored on rightfielder Ana Watson’s throwing error. Naomi scored Oklahoma State’s second run on Katelynn Carwile’s bunt.
The Bears answered with a second-inning run when Josie Bower tripled and scored on Watson’s single to right field.
The Cowgirls matched the run in the third when Carwile doubled and scored on Julia’s Cottrill’s single to right field.
Orme’s control hurt her in the fourth as she walked Chyenne Factor and Sydney Pendleton before Karli Petty hit a run-scoring single and Evans delivered a sacrifice fly to push Oklahoma State’s lead to 5-1.
In the sixth, Chelsea Alexander drilled a run-scoring single to score Petty, who had reached on an error.
Baylor tried to put together a last-ditch rally in the seventh. Aliyah Binford doubled, Zadie LaValley singled and Elish hit Watson with a pitch to load the bases with one out. But Elish forced McKenzie Wilson to fly out before striking out Taylor Strain to kill the rally and end the game.
“We took a lot of strikes that we could have used in our favor, for a better outcome,” Watson said. “But I think tomorrow we need to come back more aggressive in the box, and we’ll be fine.”
Saturday’s ESPN game is set for 7 p.m. before the series concludes with Sunday’s 1 p.m. game.
“Aliyah (Binford) will get the nod (at pitcher) tomorrow, and she’s got a big task, but she’s got a lot of tools to do a great job for us,” Moore said. “We just have to play better defense and make smarter plays.”
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