OMAHA, Neb. – Oklahoma State pushed its winning streak to four Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park as the 24th-ranked Cowboys swept a doubleheader against Nebraska on the second day of the TD Ameritrade Classic.
OSU needed 10 innings to win the opener by a 5-3 count, and in the nightcap, sophomore southpaw Tyler Nurdin tossed a complete game gem, getting his first-career win in a 4-0 shutout performance.
With the sweep of the Cornhuskers, OSU improved to 31-11 on the season. The Cowboys will close out play in Omaha Sunday when they take on Creighton at 5:05 p.m.
“Today was a very good day of baseball for us,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “The first game was a big win – we battled back and got a couple of clutch hits and grabbed the momentum. That led into game two, where we got a great effort from Tyler Nurdin on the mound.
“Two wins against a team in the top 50 of the RPI is a big day for us, a good day for Cowboy baseball. What we did today revealed to us as a team the type of grind and mentality it requires to play at the highest level. But we can’t just be pleased with what we did today. We have to now say tomorrow is for a championship and keep our edge.”
Saturday’s opener marked the 14th time this season OSU has won in come-from-behind fashion, and the Cowboys improved to 5-1 in extra inning contests.
The Cowboys took a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning on back-to-back RBIs by Saulyer Saxon and Donnie Walton, but NU scored a run in the sixth and two in the seventh off OSU starter Jason Hursh to take a 3-2 advantage into the eighth.
But the deficit certainly didn’t faze the Cowboys.
“I heard the kids say, ‘Hey, it’s no big deal, we’ve been here before,’” Holliday said. “For me to hear players say that, these guys, they get it. They understand what we do in these situations, and they believe in themselves.”
And in the eighth, OSU made good on that confidence and continued its trend of collecting clutch two-out RBIs. This time it was Robbie Rea’s single with two outs that brought home Tanner Krietemeier to tie the score at 3-3.
After nine innings, the score remained tied, but the Cowboys wasted little time changing that in the 10th. Walton led off the frame with an opposite-field double down the line, and after advancing to third on a wild pitch, he scored the go-ahead run on a double by Randy McCurry. Two batters later, it was Rea with yet another two-out RBI single to put OSU on top, 5-3.
That was all OSU needed as Brendan McCurry slammed the door on the Huskers to earn the win and improve to 5-2. The junior right-hander was dominant on the bump, working the final 2.1 innings and striking out four.
“Brendan (McCurry) was very sharp again – he continues to put up zeroes late in tight games and give us a chance to put something together offensively,” Holliday said.
Pitching would also be the story in the nightcap, and this time, OSU wouldn’t need its bullpen.
In tossing the shutout, Nurdin needed only 94 pitches, and he allowed just four hits. He did not issue a walk and struck out four as he improved to 1-2 on the year.
The complete game was the third of the season by a Cowboy hurler and only the second that covered nine innings.
“Tyler (Nurdin) was awfully good,” Holliday said. “He grew through his TCU outing a couple weeks ago (on April 14), and he took it to the next level. He took what he learned that day in Fort Worth, and he built upon it. That’s exciting.”
OSU’s offense got Nurdin all he needed with two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Randy McCurry’s RBI double plated the Cowboys’ first run, and Romero followed with a single to make it 2-0. In the seventh, Rick Stover mashed the first home run of his career, a solo shot that carried into the bullpen in left field, and Krietemeier brought home the final run with a single.
Krietemeier led the OSU offense on the day as he was 5-for-9 against his former team, while Rea added four hits and two RBIs.