Neleigh Herring’s late home run clinches upset victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State


Lena Alhallaq/ The Sunflower

Wichita State senior Bailey Lange pitches during the game against Oklahoma State at Wilkins Stadium on April 27, 2021.

After their first conference series loss to the University of South Florida last weekend, the Wichita State women’s softball team bounced back to beat No. 11 nationally ranked Oklahoma State University on Tuesday, 3-2. 

WSU started off right away with a homer from sophomore shortstop Sydney McKinney in the bottom of the 1st inning. The Shockers scored another run in the bottom of the 4th to give them a 2-0 lead. 

Junior designated hitter Neleigh Herring talked about the success McKinney has had at the plate this year. McKinney is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation for toughest to strikeout according to the NCAA. 

“Everytime time that kid is going to hit the ball no matter what,” Herring said. “I have complete confidence. To have her as our leadoff is awesome because we go into a game, she’s going to get us going for sure.”

OSU hit two back to back home runs in the top of the 5th to make it a 2-2 game. The Shockers took home the win though after Herring hit a homer to right field in the bottom of the 6th to win the game.

Herring was full of excitement as she talked about her game winning home run. She said she was glad to get it done for her team. 

“It was awesome you know,” Herring said. “Little bit of relief because I finally feel like I’m hitting the ball well and helping my team out and you know to put us up on them knowing we only have to go out, and [Bailey] Lange is going to do what she does and our defense is going to play well so after that I was like we got this game, it was just a great feeling.”

Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner said Herring made an adjustment to her swing in order to perform well at the plate against OSU. 

“Actually a really specific adjustment,” Bredbenner said. “She split her grip a little bit just to kind of get her top hand working a little bit more. 

Another standout performance on the night was senior pitcher Bailey Lange. Lange pitched a complete game. She allowed five hits and two runs, while striking out four batters. Lange is 17-5 on the season. 

Lange said what she needed to do in order to pitch a successful game against OSU. 

“They’re really good hitters so I knew I had to keep the ball low,” Lange said. “You saw when I brought it up they hit two home runs in a row. So I knew I needed to keep the ball low, pound the zone, and make them chase the change up.”

Bredbenner said after losing a series to USF and facing their pitcher Georgina Corrick, the win against OSU was just what the team needed to get ready for their conference series against Tulsa this weekend. 

“It was a win we needed,” Bredbenner said. “We knew that  it was going to be a tough game. We didn’t play well this past weekend with Corrick on the mound. We needed this kind of to get our heads right for this weekend and get that confidence back that we know we are a good team.” 

The Shockers were picked to finish 5th in the American Athletic Conference. Herring said it feels great to know the Shockers are in the race to finish 1st in conference play still despite losing to USF last weekend. 

“It’s amazing,” Herring said. “You know we took that chip on our shoulder everybody putting us that low. We knew what we were capable of so just to be able to have a chance in this season and going into our last conference series, to still be in the running, were pumped, were excited about it.” 

WSU will start their conference series at Tulsa on Friday, April 30 at 5 p.m.