March 18, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Oklahoma State picked up its second shutout of the season Tuesday night at Hammons Field as the 20th-ranked Cowboys knocked off Missouri State, 6-0.
In just its second true road game of the season, OSU improved to 15-6, while Missouri State’s struggles continued as the Bears dropped their seventh straight to fall to 8-10.
Tanner Krietemeier and Saulyer Saxon each collected two RBIs to lead the Cowboys, but pitching was the story. Six different OSU pitchers combined to limit the Bears to just three hits, and Mark Robinette picked up his first win of the season to improve to 1-1.
“We had an extremely well-pitched game – it always starts on the mound,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “When you pitch that well, it has a way of relaxing your team and allowing you to settle in.”
OSU got to long-time nemesis Clay Murphy early, tagging the Missouri State right-hander for three runs in the top of the second. Gage Green was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and Zach Fish followed with an RBI double into the gap in right-center field.
Three batters later, with Fish still on second and two outs, the Cowboys added to their lead in the unlikeliest of ways when Saxon stepped to the plate and delivered an opposite-field home run over the wall in left field to put OSU up, 3-0. The blast was the first-career homer for the senior and came in his 295th career at bat.
“A two-strike, opposite field home run from a 5-7, 160-pound guy – what else can you say about that?!” Holliday said. “That’s a huge, uplifting moment, and the team was fired up for him.”
With the early three-run lead, OSU’s pitching staff kept the Bears in their offensive hibernation. MSU entered the contest scoreless in its previous 32 innings, and the Cowboys added to that streak.
After working two innings, Robinette yielded to freshman southpaw Garrett Williams, who struck out four in three scoreless frames and retired the final eight hitters he faced.
“Garrett (Williams), once he found his rhythm, was outstanding,” Holliday said. “You’re starting to see now some of the life on the ball that separates him from a lot of left-handed pitchers that we’ve seen over the years. He grew tonight in a really positive way.”
Following a two-out single in the first inning, MSU didn’t collect a hit until a leadoff single off Cowboy closer Brendan McCurry to open the ninth.
The Cowboys doubled their score in their final two at bats, getting a two-out, RBI single from Craig McConaughy in the eighth before Krietemeier provided the final two runs with a monster home run over the right-field wall. The blast was the senior’s team-leading sixth round tripper of the season.
OSU returns to action Friday night when the Cowboys open Big 12 Conference play in Waco, Texas against Baylor.