Feb. 22, 2014
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State opened Saturday with a 10-4 win over Oakland but couldn’t complete the doubleheader sweep as the Golden Grizzlies held off a late rally by the 18th-ranked Cowboys and took the nightcap, 10-7, at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
OSU’s win in the opener was its seventh in a row, marking the best start to a season since the 1995 Cowboys went 11-0, but the winning streak came to an end after the Pokes left the bases loaded in the final inning of the second game.
“Oakland did a nice job – they pitched better than we did, they swung the bat better than we did and they handled certain situations better than we did,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “You’re not going to win a ballgame if you’re not sound in all those areas. We did not play well enough to win, and they did.
“Disappointed we didn’t finish the day, disappointed we let someone else walk into our ballpark and beat us, but that’s the game of baseball. There are two types of responses here, and I’m looking for the positive type (Sunday) out of our team.”
OSU (7-1) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in Saturday’s opener.
After a leadoff walk to Tim Arakawa in the bottom of the first, Donnie Walton got things started with an RBI double, and two batters later, Zach Fish made it 3-0 with a two-run home run, his second round tripper of the season.
The Cowboys pushed their lead to 4-0 after five innings as Thomas Hatch had another strong outing on the mound. The freshman right-hander kept the visitors off the scoreboard until the sixth when he allowed his only two runs of the game.
OSU put the game away with a four-run rally in the eighth. Andrew Rosa got the scoring started with a bases-loaded, two-RBI single, and Bryan Case drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt. The Cowboys made it 10-3 when Walton picked up his fourth hit of the contest, an RBI double.
Hatch earned the win on the mound to improve to 2-0 as he allowed two runs on five hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.
OSU’s starter in the nightcap, junior Tyler Nurdin, did not fare as well. The southpaw was tagged for three runs in the first and left in the fourth inning after giving up seven runs on seven hits.
The Cowboys trailed 7-3 going into the final inning, but Oakland added three insurance runs against reliever Kyle Bagnell to push its lead to seven.
Those runs proved crucial when OSU mounted a rally in its final at bat.
Saulyer Saxon got things going with a one-out double, and following an Arakawa single, Walton again delivered, this time with a two-RBI single up the middle to make it 10-5.
Following a strikeout, back-to-back walks to Fish and Conor Costello loaded the bases. Corey Hassel then drew the third-straight walk to bring home a run, and Ryan Sluder followed with an infield single, the first hit of his career, to cut Oakland’s lead to three.
That brought pinch hitter Aaron Cornell to the plate, but he lined out to shortstop to end the game.
OSU had 21 hits on the day but left 24 runners stranded on the base paths. Walton carried the offensive attack as he went 6-for-10 with a homer, three doubles and five RBIs. That included a career-high four hits in the opener and tying a career best with three RBIs in the nightcap.
The two teams close out the four-game series Sunday at noon.