Maxwell’s 3-hitter leads Oklahoma St. past Florida at WCWS

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State pitcher Kelly Maxwell faced an additional hurdle — a random drug test — before her Women’s College World Series game against Florida.

Oklahoma State coach Kenny Gajewski said Maxwell was one of five Cowgirls players to be tested after Thursday’s win over Arizona. The first-team NFCA All-American was exhausted after striking out 14 in the win over the Wildcats. Gajewski said Maxwell’s original sample came back diluted. She eventually made it, but didn’t return to the team hotel until 3:15 a.m. Friday.

Maxwell performed exceptionally well again on Saturday. She threw a three-batter and struck out nine, and No. 7 seed Oklahoma State beat No. 14 Florida 2-0 to advance to the semifinals.

But Gajewski was disappointed with the situation. He said he was lucky Oklahoma State won its first game and had the day off between games, otherwise the long wait would have been a bigger issue.

“I’m not mad at anyone,” he said. “I just know that process probably needs to be looked at to see if we can maybe do it on matchday mornings or something. First games, no problem, right? They’re finished. But we have a long game, we start half an hour late and then we’ll go through this deal. It’s tough.”

Maxwell said the situation affected her.

“Yeah, my rest was kinda short just with what happened the other day,” she said. “I think I slept in a bit and just recovered, and then I focused today on chasing the batters. I got a little tired at the end, but I was able to get through. “

Gajewski called it a safety issue that needs to be reviewed before next season.

“These girls are important,” he said. “They’re very talented, they’re tight, their muscles are tight, they’re fit and strong. When you disrupt the rest of these kind of kids at this point in the year, it really has a negative impact which can really last . So I just want to make sure her voice is heard. She won’t say a word. So that’s really all it’s about.”

Maxwell had enough energy to throw 121 shots on his 12th shutout of the season. She allowed one hit and one walk to start the game, then retired the next 15 batters.

Florida second baseman Hannah Adams said Maxwell was on.

“She’s a really good pitcher, we knew that coming in,” Adams said. “She did a really good job of mixing up her location, mixing up the speeds. You couldn’t really guess a pitch that was coming. She just did a really good job of mixing up the speeds and the locations.”

Former Florida catcher Julia Cottrill finished with three hits for Oklahoma State. Chyenne Factor had two hits and hits in a run for the Cowgirls (48-12), who face the winner of Sunday’s Arizona-Texas game on Monday.

It was quite a day for the Big 12. No. 1 seed Oklahoma beat fellow Big 12 member Texas early in the game to advance to the semifinals.

Lexie Delbrey (15-4) took the loss for Florida. She allowed one run and four hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Oklahoma State entered the board in the third when Factor’s bunt single scored Cottrill.

The Cowgirls scored again in the fourth when Cottrill’s single tackled Sydney Pennington. Oklahoma State loaded the bases with two outs, but Florida escaped.

The Gators got runners at first and second with one out in the sixth, but didn’t score. Florida (49-18) got a runner in third with two outs in seventh, but again Oklahoma State held on.

Florida will face No. 5 UCLA in a playoff game on Sunday.

“It’s a different path, but we have another opportunity to play an extra game,” Florida coach Tim Walton said. “I think that’s how we have to look at it. We’re going to have to play extra games now to get where we want to get to.”

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Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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More AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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