Donnie Walton and Andrew Rosa
Feb. 16, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas – Oklahoma State capped off the 2014 season opening weekend with a 4-3 win over UT Arlington Sunday in the UTA/Hilton Invitational at Clay Gould Ballpark.
Sunday’s victory marked 18th-ranked OSU’s second come-from-behind win of the tourney and also secured the Cowboys’ first 3-0 start to a season since 2011. Saulyer Saxon led the Pokes with a pair of RBIs, while Jon Perrin earned the win in relief and Brendan McCurry picked up his second save of the year.
“This was a big game for us – any time you play the home team in their yard on day three of a tournament, there’s a lot of dynamics in place that prepare you for what lies ahead,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “It’s great to win a ballgame like that; it builds character, it builds confidence… We’ll build on it and go to work on making some corrections.”
Tyler Nurdin started on the mound for the Cowboys, but UTA (0-3) took an early 1-0 lead against the southpaw on an RBI single by All-American Matt Shortall in the bottom of the first inning.
In the fourth, it was Saxon coming up big and giving OSU its first lead. Tanner Krietemeier and Fish opened the inning with back-to-back singles, and a sacrifice bunt and error loaded the bases. Saxon then stepped to the plate and singled up the middle to put the Cowboys on top, 3-2.
“The way the park was playing with the wind coming in strong from left field the only way you were scoring was on the ground; you had to use your legs and the bunt game and you had to get some timely, line drive base hits to score, and we had just enough of that,” Holliday said.
OSU added a key insurance run in the seventh compliments of freshman Dustin Williams. With Saxon on third, Williams stepped up for just his second-career at bat and delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Cowboys a 4-2 cushion.
UTA managed a run in the bottom of the seventh against Perrin, who came on in relief of Nurdin to start the fifth, but the junior righty stranded the tying run on third with an inning-ending strikeout.
Clinging to the 4-3 lead, the Cowboys turned to McCurry in the eighth, and the OSU closer slammed the door on the Mavericks, retiring six straight to earn the 10th save of his career. That total is tied for sixth on the program’s all-time list.
OSU returns to action Tuesday at 4 p.m. when the Cowboys host Alcorn State in their ’14 opener at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.