FORT WORTH, Texas – Oklahoma State notched its 10th come-from-behind win of the season Saturday, knocking off TCU, 4-1, at Lupton Stadium.
With the victory, the 22nd-ranked Cowboys evened the series with TCU and improved to 24-9 overall and 5-5 in Big 12 Conference play. The two teams will square off in Sunday’s rubber game beginning at 1 p.m.
Mark Robinette earned a win on the mound for the second-straight weekend to improve to 3-0, while Vince Wheeland kept the Horned Frogs off the scoreboard over the final four innings to collect his first save.
“It was a tough game, and our kids really responded from a disappointing loss (Friday),” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “I told them after the (Friday) game that wasn’t a reflection of who we were. I expect more out of our team, and they should expect more out of themselves from a competitive standpoint.
“Today we grinded it out and did the things we needed to do to get a win and set up a crucial game to decide the series on Sunday.”
After allowing a leadoff single in the bottom of the first inning, Robinette retired 10-straight batters before getting into trouble with one out in the fourth. Paul Hendrix got things started for TCU with a double into the left-center field gap, and Jantzen Witte followed with an RBI single for the first run of the game.
Up next, Derek Odell collected the Frogs’ third consecutive hit, a single that put runners on the corners with just one out. But Robinette worked out of the jam by recording back-to-back strikeouts of Kevin Cron and Dylan Fitzgerald to end the inning.
Robinette finished the contest with a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just four hits in five innings of work, but the Cowboys still trailed 1-0 entering the sixth.
That soon changed, however.
Aaron Cornell led off what proved to be a pivotal sixth inning with a walk, and after a sacrifice bunt by Donnie Walton, Saulyer Saxon reached on an error to put OSU runners on first and second with one out. Justin Scharf then came out of the bullpen to relieve TCU starter Brandon Finnegan and struck out Robbie Rea.
Down to its last out in the inning, OSU got another clutch hit from Tanner Krietemeier as the junior laced a double down the left field line to tie the score at 1-1.
The Cowboys weren’t done. Randy McCurry followed Krietemeier with an RBI infield single and when TCU shortstop Keaton Jones made a throwing error on the play, OSU plated its third run to go up, 3-1.
OSU added an insurance run in the seventh when Trey Whaley, who was 2-for-4 in the game, collected a leadoff double and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Cornell.
Whaley, who was in the starting lineup for only the ninth time this season and was one of three Cowboys with two hits on the day, was one of the heroes in Saturday’s win, Holliday said.
“I’m proud of Trey (Whaley) – he’s been patient and positive,” Holliday said. “I challenged the group last night about your mentality and the value of the program to you as an individual. I gave Trey a chance to go in there today, and he played very proud and very hard and did a couple of really important things. He swung the bat well and ran the bases in alert fashion.”
With a three-run lead, Wheeland closed out TCU (15-20, 4-7) in dominating fashion. In his four scoreless innings, the junior righty allowed just one hit and struck out six.