STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State extended its winning streak to four games with its second-straight doubleheader sweep Saturday as the Cowboys knocked off New Jersey Institute of Technology, 11-1 and 6-3, at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Jason Hursh tossed a seven-inning complete game in the run-rule win in game one and was aided by 15 hits from his offense, while in the nightcap, OSU used a pair of three-run innings to give Vince Wheeland his first victory of the season as the Cowboys improved to 6-1.
Offensively, OSU was led by catcher Victor Romero, who was 5-for-8 with four RBIs in the twinbill, and shortstop Randy McCurry, who added five hits and three RBIs.
“Two wins always feels good; two great starting pitching performances really were the key, along with some good relief pitching and some timely hitting,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “Victor Romero, Zach Fish and Randy McCurry all had big days, Trey Whaley had a clutch hit....
“We’ve still got a long ways to go, we’ve got to keep getting better. But all-in-all, it was a pretty good day, and we need to make it a good day tomorrow by coming out and finishing the series with a sweep.”
Fish got the Cowboys’ scoring started in the first game with a solo home run in the second inning, the sophomore’s second of the season, but NJIT tied it at 1-1 in the third on an RBI single by Ed Charlton.
That score would not last long, however, as OSU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles by Randy McCurry and Fish to take a 3-1 lead it never surrendered.
Hursh kept the Highlanders scoreless over the final four innings as the sophomore right-hander allowed just four hits and struck out five. He did not issue a walk in improving to 1-0 on the year, and OSU plated four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to secure the run-rule win.
“Jason’s back-to-back outings have been very similar – he’s filled the strike zone up and gone deep into the game,” Holliday said. “When you get good pitching like that and play good defense, you’ve got a shot to win if you’re efficient offensively, and we were.”
Fish, Romero and Robbie Rea each had three hits in the opener, while Rea and Randy McCurry drove in three runs apiece.
The second contest was close throughout.
After 3 ½ scoreless innings, OSU rallied for three runs in the fourth off NJIT starter Tripp Davis. The Cowboys loaded the bases with no outs, and Tanner Krietemeier delivered a sacrifice fly for the game’s first run. Following the second out, Romero and Whaley recorded back-to-back RBI singles to give the home team a three-run advantage.
Wheeland held NJIT scoreless over the first five frames before getting into trouble in the sixth.
After consecutive singles to open the inning, a sacrifice bunt put Highlanders on second and third with one out. Wheeland got Charlton on a huge strikeout, but Mike Rampone then stepped to the plate and collected a two-RBI single to make the score 3-2. The fourth single of the inning moved the tying run to second before Wheeland escaped further damage by getting Stephan Halibej to ground out.
Trailing 3-2, NJIT started another rally in the seventh against OSU reliever Kyle Gehrs as the visitors used a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a single to put runners on the corners with one out. But Brendan McCurry put out the fire, striking out the next two hitters to get out of the jam.
OSU added some insurance in the bottom of the inning, adding runs on a double play, a balk and an RBI double off the bat of Romero to go up, 6-3.
Brendan McCurry worked the final 2.2 innings, allowing just one unearned run, to record the first save of his career.
Wheeland earned the win with six innings in which he struck out a career-high seven and gave up just two runs on five hits.
“Vince Wheeland went out and did what he’s capable of doing, which is filling the strike zone up with quality sinkers and sliders and letting them put the ball in play quickly, and we played good defense behind him,” Holliday said.
Randy McCurry led OSU with three hits in the nightcap, with Romero picking up two of the Cowboys’ four RBIs.
The two teams close out the series Sunday with a game set to begin at noon.