Temples shines as BYU softball stuns Oklahoma State in Big 12 Tournament opener

BYU pitcher Chloe Temples winds up during a game against Oklahoma State, Thursday, May 9, 2024. Temples struck out six with no walks allowed during a 7-2 win over the No. 2/3 Cowgirls in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. (Brett Rojo for the Big 12 Conference)

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — BYU softball was enjoying its first-ever trip to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 softball tournament so much that the Cougars figured they might as well stay.

Lily Owens went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored for BYU, and Ailana Agbayani drove in three RBIs as the Cougars pounded out seven runs on seven hits en route to a 7-2 upset win over No. 2/3 Oklahoma State in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal Thursday at Devon Park in Oklahoma City.

Starter Chloe Temples did the rest.

The 5-foot-7 Stetson transfer held the Cowgirls scoreless through five innings in the Cougars' first Big 12 Tournament appearance, fanning four batters early while spinning a three-hitter.

The senior southpaw scattered seven hits over seven innings, finishing with six strikeouts to earn her 10th win of the season (10-6). Temples didn't allow a single walk, and forced 11 pop-ups for easy outs with three groundball outs in BYU's third win over a ranked opponent on the year.

In other words, she put the ball in play and then "battled," head coach Gordon Eakin said.

"She competed and she fought against a very good team," he told the ESPN+ broadcast crew after the game. "I'm so proud of the whole team. We had our struggles in the season with injuries, but we're back … and that's evident in the way we came out today."

A bubble team for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth by most metrics entering Thursday, Owens struck first as BYU (31-22) jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings, and Agbayani stretched the lead to 5-0 with a two-run single in the top of the fourth.

Abbey Gillespie and pinch runner Taryn Lennon each scored a pair of unearned runs during a two-run sixth.

Ranked No. 3 in the NFC coaches poll and No. 2 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, Oklahoma State snapped the shutout when Caroline Wang doubled to the gap in right-center, scoring Tallen Edwards from second in the bottom of the sixth.

Rosie Davis singled to right for another score in the inning, but Temples delivered an off-speed pitch on full count for her sixth strikeout of the day to keep the Cowgirls at bay and lift BYU into the conference semifinals.

"The next round is tomorrow, right? I'll worry about that tonight," Eakin deadpanned on the broadcast. "But we have to compete the same way we competed today. A lot of teams might be intimidated by the opponent you play. But I can say our girls compete no matter who they play.

"We'll enjoy this team against a classy team. Oklahoma State is so good."

The Cougars will face the winner of No. 4 Oklahoma, which tore through Kansas 10-1 in five innings Thursday's, in the Big 12 semifinals. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. MDT Friday on ESPN+.

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