WICHITA, Kan. – A four-run seventh inning fueled Oklahoma State’s first win in Wichita in four years as the 16th-ranked Cowboys knocked off Wichita State by a 7-2 margin Tuesday night at Eck Stadium.
With the win, which marked OSU’s 17th come-from-behind victory this season, the Cowboys improved to 37-13 on the season. OSU last won on the Shockers’ home field in 2009.
“It couldn’t happen to a bunch of better kids to come bouncing back from Sunday and get a good win,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “This Wichita State rivalry and the history of this series, regardless of what their record is right now or what they’re perceived to be, this is a rivalry game. This is a hard game to win. We’re on the road at their place, and our kids played a nice ballgame.”
Kenton Bevacqua earned the win on the mound for the Cowboys to improve to 2-2 on the year. The southpaw racked up a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just one run on six hits in 6.1 innings.
“Kenton has quietly held down a very important role for us,” Holliday said. “You need someone to go out and stabilize a game and knock off several outs before you start diving into the bullpen, and he did that. He did a heck of a job.
“For him to go out there and pitch like that tells you all you need to know about Kenton. He’s a competitor, he stays within himself, he’s poised. You’ve got to bring your lunch box when he pitches because the games take a while, but he stays inside himself, makes his pitches and keeps the ball down.”
Offensively, Saulyer Saxon led the OSU attack with a career-high four hits in five at bats and also collected two RBIs, while Randy McCurry also drove in a pair of runs.
The game was a pitchers’ duel early on between Bevacqua and WSU’s Kris Gardner. But after 5 ½ scoreless innings, the Shockers broke through in the bottom of the sixth. After leadoff hitter Tanner Dearman tripled to the right-center field gap, Garrett Bayliff followed with an RBI single to put WSU up 1-0.
The Cowboys quickly erased the deficit in their next at bat, however.
In the seventh, Gardner hit Gage Green with a pitch to open the inning, and pinch hitter Aaron Cornell reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt to put Cowboys on the corners with no outs. After Cornell stole second, one of his two stolen bases on the night, pinch hitter Randy McCurry delivered a two-RBI double to give OSU a 2-1 lead.
Holliday’s club wasn’t done. Saxon brought home OSU’s third run with a double, and later scored on an error to put the Cowboys up, 4-1.
OSU added three more runs in the eighth, getting RBIs from Cornell, Saxon and Donnie Walton to push their lead to six.
WSU (31-25) managed its only other score on a solo home run by Casey Gillaspie to lead off the ninth inning.
The Cowboys close out the regular season at home against West Virginia in a three-game Big 12 Conference series beginning Thursday. The opener is set for a 6:30 p.m. start at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium on what will be Tom Borland Night at the ballpark.