March 15, 2014
STILLWATER, Okla. – Tim Arakawa’s two-RBI walk-off single lifted 15th-ranked Oklahoma State to a 7-6 series-clinching win over Texas-Pan American Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Arakawa’s game-winning hit came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Cowboys improved to 14-6 on the season. The victory marked OSU’s eighth come-from-behind win of the year, and coach Josh Holliday’s club is now 5-0 in one-run games in 2014.
OSU trailed 6-5 entering its final at bat when Arakawa stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. The junior worked a 3-2 count against UTPA’s Matthew Harrell before driving the ball through the right side to bring home the tying and winning runs.
“I needed to battle right there and have a little confidence at the plate,” Arakawa said. “I was just looking for a strike and trying to put a good swing on it.
“You’re always nervous when you’re coming up with the bases loaded, two outs and down one. But you’ve just got to calm those nerves and take a few deep breaths.”
The Cowboys battled from behind throughout the contest.
UTPA (10-11) took an early lead off Thomas Hatch with two runs in the first inning, but OSU answered to tie the score at 2-2 in the second on back-to-back RBI singles by Dustin Williams and Ryan Sluder.
In the fourth inning, the Broncs added two more runs, but their lead was short lived as the Cowboys once again tied things up in the bottom of the frame. This time it was Craig McConaughy coming up big as he delivered a two-out, two-RBI double down the left field line to knot the score at 4-4.
The Broncs recorded their third two-run inning in the sixth, getting an RBI double from Blake Thomas before a passed ball put them up by a 6-4 margin.
But that was all UTPA would get. Trey Cobb came up big out of the OSU bullpen, working 3.1 scoreless innings and striking out a career-high six.
After allowing his only two hits of the game with two outs in the top of the ninth, Cobb gave way to OSU closer Brendan McCurry, who came on and induced a groundout to strand Broncs on second and third.
Up next, Sluder sent a grounder to shortstop, but Jesus Garcia couldn’t make a play and the error put Cowboys on first and third with one out.
That brought pinch hitter Aaron Cornell to the plate, and the senior laid down a bunt that Harrell fielded and threw home to nail Green at the plate.
With runners again on the corners, Saxon walked to load the bases and bring up Arakawa, who delivered the clutch hit to set off an OSU celebration.
“Great win,” Holliday said. “Texas-Pan American played us three excellent games, and our kids battled their hearts out in all three. They found a way today to come out on the right side of the board, and it took the last strike of the game before it happened.
“I’m happy for Tim (Arakawa) – he hit the ball hard all day long and hadn’t found any luck. He got another one on the barrel there and found a hole. And good for our team. You saw a team that grinded and battled awfully hard, and we were just waiting for that one moment to get the lid off of it. Luckily it came there at the end.”
Arakawa was one of four Cowboys, along with Saxon, Green and Sluder, to finish with two hits in the contest.
OSU returns to action Tuesday when the Cowboys travel to Springfield, Mo., to take on Missouri State. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.