LAWRENCE, Kan. – Oklahoma State evened its series against Kansas Saturday as the 19th-ranked Cowboys cruised to a 14-3 win at Hoglund Ballpark.
The Cowboys collected 18 hits, their most in a nine-inning game this season and one shy of their season high, and got a strong start from Mark Robinette on the mound as they improved to 22-7 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 Conference play.
OSU will square off against the Jayhawks (17-12, 4-4) in Sunday’s decisive series finale beginning at 1 p.m.
“It was a good response by our team after last night’s game when we weren’t sharp early on,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “We came out today exactly how we talked about, which was to get the first score on the board early in the game. And then you can go around the horn and find a lot of positives about today’s ballgame. We played a complete game from top to bottom, pitched well and swung the bats well.”
OSU wasted no time taking a lead Saturday. Saulyer Saxon, who leads the Cowboys in hitting in Big 12 play, opened the game with an opposite field double, and after a sacrifice bunt by Aaron Cornell, Tanner Krietemeier brought home the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly.
In the second, OSU extended its lead thanks to a two-run home run by Robbie Rea. The third baseman’s shot, which cleared the wall in left field, was the first of his three hits on the day and gave the Cowboys a 3-0 advantage.
Following an unearned run in the fourth, the Cowboys pushed their lead to seven in the sixth with a three-run rally as Saxon, Cornell and Krietemeier delivered consecutive RBI singles.
With OSU’s offense rolling, Robinette dominated the KU lineup, allowing just two hits and keeping the Jayhawks off the scoreboard through the first six innings.
KU finally strung together a rally with two outs in the seventh, loading the bases and then getting a three-RBI triple off the wall in centerfield by Tucker Tharp, but Vince Wheeland came out of the bullpen and retired the first batter he faced to escape further damage.
The win marked the first of Robinette’s career against a Big 12 opponent as he improved to 2-0 on the season. He struck out four and issued just one walk in a career-high 6 2/3 innings.
“Robinette’s start was huge – he gave us what we needed,” Hollilday said. “He came out and stabilized the game into the seventh inning and gave us a chance to build up a cushion. He threw 104 quality pitches, and he leaves a winner and deservedly so.”
After the Jayhawks trimmed their deficit to 7-3, OSU squashed any hopes of a comeback by tallying seven runs over the final two innings.
Rea led a trio of Cowboys with three hits, with Victor Romero and Donnie Walton also reaching that total, while Krietemeier collected a career-high four RBIs.