April 13, 2014
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Oklahoma State completed a series sweep of West Virginia Sunday as the 18th-ranked Cowboys claimed a 7-4 win in the finale at Hawley Field.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Cowboys, who improved to 26-10 overall and 8-4 in Big 12 Conference play. It marks the first time since 2012 at Kansas State that OSU has swept a three-game road series against a league opponent.
Vince Wheeland did not allow an earned run in 6 1/3 innings of relief to earn the win and improve to 3-0, while Zach Fish led the OSU offensive attack with four RBIs. Brendan McCurry worked a scoreless ninth inning for his ninth save of the season and 17th of his career, which ties the senior right-hander with Jordy Mercer for the top spot on the Cowboys’ all-time list.
“That’s about as proud as you can feel about your group, to see the determination and grit the kids showed today,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “Our kids were resilient, they were tough, and it was a great team effort… To make this long journey here – it’s not an easy journey – and to play this well, I’m really proud of the kids in our uniform.”
OSU took a lead it would never surrender in its first at bat as in the top of the first, the Cowboys sent 10 batters to the plate and pushed across four runs on three singles, three walks, a hit batter and a balk. Gage Green brought home the Pokes’ first run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Fish followed with a two-RBI single. The final run in the frame was plated on the balk.
WVU (16-15, 2-6) would answer in the bottom of the first and trim its deficit in half against OSU starter Tyler Nurdin, who allowed a pair of runs on three hits in the inning.
Things could have been worse for the Cowboys, but with the bases loaded and just one out, Fish caught a fly ball in right field and then gunned down Ryan McBroom at the plate, a double play that ended the inning and kept the score at 4-2.
In the bottom of the second, Nurdin quickly retired the first two WVU hitters. But a two-out walk to Taylor Munden and a bunt single by Bobby Boyd brought up Billy Fleming, who delivered an RBI double to make it 4-3 and end Nurdin’s day on the mound.
The Cowboys would call on Wheeland, who came on with runners on second and third and got McBroom to ground out to end the inning.
Over the next six innings, Wheeland kept the WVU offense at bay, scattering six hits and allowing just one unearned run, that coming in the seventh as the Mountaineers cut their deficit to 5-4.
“Vinnie Wheeland came in and did what he does – he fired strikes, he got out of a couple of jams and he competed extremely well,” Holliday said. “Our bullpen has proven to be a trademark for us to this point.”
The Cowboys added two key insurance runs in the eighth as Fish once again came up big with his second two-RBI single of the day to push the OSU lead to 7-4.
In the bottom of the eighth, Tim Arakawa and Donnie Walton combined to turn a highlight-reel double play, ending a potential WVU rally, and McCurry kept the Mountaineers off the board in the ninth to seal the win.
OSU returns to action Tuesday night when the Cowboys host Bedlam-rival Oklahoma in a non-conference contest at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.