April 1, 2011
LINCOLN, Neb. – Oklahoma State hit its most home runs in a game in two years and racked up 19 hits en route to a 12-7 win over Nebraska Friday night at Hawks Field.
The Cowboys blasted five home runs, including two by Jared Womack, marking the most by an OSU team since a five-homer outing against Tabor College on April 1, 2009. The Pokes’ 19 hits also tied a season high set twice previously as they had eight players collect multiple hits in the game.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Cowboys, who improved to 20-6 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 Conference play. It also marked OSU’s first victory in a series opener against Nebraska in Lincoln since 1999.
OSU took command early with an eight-run second inning against NU starter Matt Freeman, who entered the game having allowed just seven runs in seven outings this season.
Freeman opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first inning, but the right-hander would not make it out of the second frame.
Womack jump started OSU’s power surge by leading off the top of the second with a home run, delivering a Freeman pitch just inside the right field foul pole. The blast was Womack’s second homer of the season and was the first round tripper Freeman allowed this season.
But the Cowboys weren’t done taking the NU senior deep. Davis Duren followed Womack with his second homer of the year, driving an 0-2 pitch to nearly the same spot as Womack’s blast to give OSU back-to-back home runs for the first time this season.
Up next, Mark Ginther stepped to the plate and doubled, which brought up Gabe Weidenaar. And the Cowboys’ center fielder kept OSU’s home run barrage going with a two-run shot to right field to make the score 4-0.
The offensive assault would continue. After an infield single by Hunter Bailey, Devin Shines joined the home run derby with a two-run shot of his own, a homer that marked the first of the junior’s career.
Already leading 6-0, the Cowboys added their seventh run on an RBI double by Zach Johnson, a hit that scored Dane Phillips from first base, and pushed their lead to eight on a two-out RBI single off the bat of Duren.
By the time the dust cleared on OSU’s big inning, the Cowboys had sent 13 batters to the plate and erupted for eight runs on 10 hits, four of them home runs. Entering the contest, OSU had 13 homers on the season and its most in a single game was three against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Nebraska (18-10, 1-3) scored its first run in the bottom of the second off OSU starter Mike Strong. Kash Kalkowski was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and Kurt Farmer would bring Kalkowski home with a double down the left field line to make the score 8-1.
The Huskers cut into their deficit again in the third when Kale Kiser led off the inning with a home run to left field.
OSU got back on the scoreboard in the fourth, and once again the Cowboys did it via the long ball as Womack delivered his second home run of the game, a solo shot with two outs to push the lead to 9-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, it was Nebraska’s turn to go deep. With two on and two out, Cory Burleson battled Strong, and on a 3-2 count and the 14th pitch of the at bat, Burleson won the battle as he connected on a three-run home run to right field. Luis Uribe nearly robbed Burleson of the homer, but the ball glanced off the leaping Cowboy right-fielder’s glove and over the wall.
The Cowboys added two more runs in the fifth to make the score 11-5, getting a two-out, two-RBI double from Shines, who finished the contest with a team-high four RBIs from his leadoff spot in the order.
Strong worked five innings to pick up the win and improve to 3-0 on the year. The senior southpaw allowed six runs on seven hits and struck out six.
Randy McCurry took over for Strong in the sixth and worked the final four innings to pick up his first save since the 2009 season and 11th of his career. The sophomore racked up a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just one run on two hits.
Ginther finished with four hits to lead OSU, while Weidenaar was 3-for-5 at the plate and was one of four Cowboys with at least two RBIs.
The two teams return to action Saturday at 2:05 p.m.