STILLWATER — Two years ago, the Oklahoma State University softball team was in the College World Series. Last year, its season ended in the Big 12 Tournament. With a younger team, the Cowgirls hope to make a deeper run in the postseason.
The Cowgirls are fielding four freshmen and three sophomores. Several received playing time during Oklahoma State’s exhibition games last fall. Coach Rich Wieligman said those fall games were huge and hopes it pays off in the spring.
“We get a whole fall to practice and get some games and get accustomed to the college life,” Wieligman said. “It’s nice that we have freshmen that have played eight games. They have gone through a semester of school. So they know what is expected of them on the academic side and the weight and training side.”
Wieligman added that several of those younger players will see significant action.
“We got Tiffany Mikkelson at third base, she is going to probably hit in the four- or five-hole for us. She’s got good power and will probably do some pretty good things. We got Erika Campbell and Dre McKee in right field — they will probably platoon off and on. One’s a right-handed hitter and one is a left-handed hitter.”
Oklahoma State also has some transfers. Junior Shannon Kaufman joins the team from Sacramento State and will play in the outfield. Senior Stephanie Brewer is a transfer from Arkansas and will spend time at first. Senior Samantha Chrisman played at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
“(Brewer) is going to be at first base with Amy Graham,” Wieligman said. “We’ve got kids competing for spots. Who is going to hit and play well is probably going to get to play.”
The Cowgirls’ experience is at the pitcher position with senior Kat Espinosa and junior Simone Freeman returning. Espinosa went 15-13 with a 2.38 ERA and five shutouts. Freeman started in 24 games and posted a 7-11 record with a 2.74 ERA. Wieligman said his team’s success will in part ride on their performance.