March 30, 2013
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State won its first Big 12 Conference series of the season Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium as the 18th-ranked Cowboys were victorious in a pair of games against Texas.
The day began with OSU and Texas resuming their game from Friday night, which had been postponed due to rain with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. The Cowboys ended up 8-3 winners in that contest before claiming a 5-4 victory in the series finale.
With the wins, OSU improved to 21-6 overall and 3-2 in Big 12 Conference play. The series concluded an unprecedented homestand for the Cowboys, which originally was 26 games before two of those were lost due to weather. In those 24 games, the Pokes were 19-5.
“We had the ultimate challenge of starting a ballgame (Friday) only to have it ceased due to rain and having to turn around and string together 17 innings of quality baseball, which is not easy to do, especially against a team like Texas who is very talented on the mound,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “It was a unique opportunity, a great challenge and one that our kids responded to well. I couldn’t be more proud of the courage and effort those kids showed us for six or seven hours.”
On Friday, OSU had taken a 3-1 lead before heavy thunderstorms halted the game. When the contest resumed Saturday, the Longhorns plated the first run of the day in the fourth inning off Vince Wheeland to trim their deficit to one, but the Cowboys answered in the bottom of the frame when Corey Hassel scored on an error to make it 4-2.
OSU clung to the one-run lead until the eighth when a two-out, RBI single by Erich Weiss cut it to 4-3, but Cowboy center fielder Jarrett Higgins then robbed Mark Payton of an extra-base hit that likely would have tied the score with a diving catch in the gap to end the inning.
Higgins would spark the offense in the bottom of the frame to help the Cowboys put the game away as his two-RBI double fueled a four-run rally to seal the win.
Wheeland earned the win to improve to 6-0 as he worked 3.2 innings and struck out four, while Brendan McCurry kept UT off the scoreboard over the final 1.2 innings to collect a save.
In the series finale, OSU took command early as they put up four runs in its first at-bat. With two outs and Cowboy runners on second and third, Randy McCurry sent a grounder to third base, but Weiss could not field the ball cleanly, allowing two runs to score.
Robbie Rea then made the Longhorns pay further by lofting a two-RBI double to right field to put the Cowboys up, 4-0, after one inning.
The Longhorns (16-11, 2-4) tallied a run in the second, third and fourth innings off OSU starter Tyler Nurdin to trim their deficit to one before the Pokes pushed their lead to 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double by Donnie Walton.
Texas, who plated its final run in the seventh, would outhit the Cowboys by a 9-7 margin in the finale, but the visitors stranded nine runners on the base paths.
OSU used six pitchers in the contest, with Jon Perrin picking up the win to improve to 3-0 and Brendan McCurry earning his second save of the day and fourth of the season with two scoreless innings to close things out.
“If you’re gonna put a good pitcher in the bullpen, you have to use him when you have the lead,” Holliday said. “In Big 12 Conference play, if you have your hands on a lead late, you’ve got to try to seize that if you can. We were spot on with our decisions, and I give (OSU pitching coach) Rob (Walton) all the credit for that. He’s extremely well prepared, he thinks well in advance and really knows our guys.
“Today was a great example of him strategically working our guys into good situations and them being successful.”
OSU returns to action Tuesday when they travel to Norman for a non-conference showdown against Bedlam-rival and 11th-ranked Oklahoma. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.