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Junior Savanna DesRochers pitches the ball against Oklahoma State on April 6th, 2023 at Arrocha Ballpark

The No. 2 Oklahoma State traveled to Lawrence to take on the Jayhawks at Arrocha Ballpark on Thursday. The Cowgirls defeated the Jayhawks 7-5 off a two-run home run at the top of the 7th. 

The Jayhawks were battle-tested throughout the entire first game of the three-game stretch. The Jayhawks out-hit the Cowgirls 10-7, but their power/extra-base hits are what made the Cowgirls so dominant offensively. Oklahoma State, who came in 33-4 and undefeated in the Big 12 Conference thus far, showed it right away as they tacked on runs early in the top of the second inning against junior starting pitcher Addison Purvis. 

Sophomore outfielder Kate Carwile didn’t hesitate to jump into the box and knock them in. She hit her 11th double off the season and drove in a run to give the Cowgirls a 1-0 lead. 

Shortly after, sophomore infielder Megan Bloodworth bashed one through the right-center gap and drove in a run, giving the Cowgirls a 2-0 lead. 

Graduate student infielder Rachel Becker showed a great piece as she drove both runners in, and the Cowgirls opened up the game with a 4-0 statement. 

It wasn’t the junior and right-handed pitcher Addison Purvis’s night, as she departed earlier than expected. Junior reliever Savannah Desrochers entered the game without Purvis even getting through two innings pitched. 

Desrochers played lights out; she mixed her speeds and threw enough pitches to keep the Jayhawks in it. Desrochers slowed the game down and, most importantly, slowed down an impressive Cowgirls roster with an ERA of 1.62 for the game and lowering her season ERA to a 3.09. 

The Jayhawks' offensive went quiet for four innings. Senior pitcher Lexi Kilfoyl dominated for the Cowgirls. The Jayhawks couldn’t capitalize with the minimal runners they had on base, and Kilfoyl was getting a lot of hitters out on her fastball, but the Jayhawks' bats finally came alive in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Junior outfielder Sophia Buzard drew a walk, which led to a momentum change. Instead, senior shortstop Haleigh Harper sacrificed herself to get Buzard to second via a perfectly placed bunt. The next batter, another senior, centerfielder Shayna Espy, punched one through the right-side hole, scoring Buzard and giving Kansas their first run of the series. 

The next at-bat was in freshman outfielder Presley Limbaugh’s hands as she hit an infield single. The shortstop for the Cowgirls mistakenly threw the ball away on the same play, which advanced Limbaugh to second, and, even more importantly, sent Espy to home plate, getting the Jayhawks right back in it with another run.

Through five innings of play, the Cowgirls held a 4-2 lead over the Jayhawks. 

The Cowgirls got their momentum right back in the top of the sixth with a sacrifice fly, making the score 5-2. The Cowgirl’s offensive continued to be collectively dangerous from first to last in their lineup, and it created a really tough task for the Jayhawks to come out on top.

The Jayhawks answered back in the bottom of the six, and who other than Desrochers to deliver when the Jayhawks need it most. Desrochers does it all, and that was presently shown against the second-best team in the entire country. With runners on first and second, she scorched one down the right-field line, getting the fans back into it, and driving in the runner on second, making it a 5-3 ballgame. 

With two runners now in scoring position, Harper showed her clutchness with an electric triple ripped down again the right-field line, clearing the bases and giving herself two runs batted in along with her first hit of the night. Harper got the dugout roaring, and the Jayhawk fans were in full-support mode from the crowd.

Unfortunately, the Jayhawks couldn’t finish the job, as the Cowgirls hit a game-winning two-run homer, crushing the Jayhawk’s crazy upset story. The Jayhawks were actionless in the bottom of the seventh, resulting in a 7-5 victory for Oklahoma State. Freshman pitcher and utility Lizzy Ludwig received the loss but battled to give the Jayhawks in it during her entire 7th inning pitched. The Cowgirls frustrated her, and she made one mistake that led to the game-winning home run.

Kansas and Oklahoma State will be right back at it Friday, as they will go head-to-head for the second game of the series at 5 p.m. at Arrocha Ballpark.