May 17, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Oklahoma State suffered its third-straight loss Tuesday as Missouri State defeated the 22nd-ranked Cowboys, 4-3, at Hammons Field.
The Cowboys rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the score only to see MSU get a sacrifice fly by Travis McComack to plate the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
With the loss in its final non-conference game of the regular season, the Cowboys fell to 33-19. OSU closes out the regular season this weekend at Texas Tech before a return to the Big 12 Baseball Championship next week in Oklahoma City.
Missouri State right-hander Clay Murphy kept OSU off the scoreboard over the game’s first eight innings as the right-hander struck out 10 and allowed just three hits, but the Cowboys got to Bears’ closer Dan Kickham in the ninth.
Kickham entered the game with 13 saves and was looking to set MSU’s all-time single-season record, and the righty had allowed just two earned runs in 22 appearances this season.
But Zach Johson greeted Kickham with a single, and a walk to Jared Womack put two Cowboys on with no outs. After a strikeout and a passed ball moved the runners to second and third, Davis Duren doubled to bring home OSU’s first run.
Up next, Luis Uribe continued the rally when he delivered a game-tying double to right field that made the score 3-3. But Uribe would be stranded at second as Kickham retired the next two Cowboys to get out of the jam.
The bottom of the ninth would be a heartbreaker for the Cowboys.
OSU reliever Jason Hursh struck out Brock Chaffin to open the inning, but the next batter, Brent Seifert, walked on a seven-pitch at bat. Luke Voit then singled, giving MSU its first hit since the third inning, and Seifert advanced to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play.
That brought up McComack, who sent a fly ball to OSU center fielder Devin Shines. Seifert tagged up, and Shines’ throw to the plate came in late to give the Bears the win.
Prior to the ninth, the only runs in the game came in the third inning as Missouri State (31-18) struck for three runs. After OSU starter Andrew Heck retired the first eight batters he faced in the contest, the Bears reeled off four consecutive hits with two outs in the third to take command.
Derek Mattea got the rally started with a two-out double down the left field line, and Aaron Conway followed with a double of his own to make the score 1-0. The Bears pushed their lead to three on back-to-back RBI singles by Kevin Medrano and Chaffin.
The Cowboys’ bats were held in check for much of the contest, but OSU had several scoring opportunities in the late innings.
In the seventh, the Cowboys had runners on first and second with one out, but Duren grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the potential rally.
In the eighth, a double and a walk once again put OSU runners on first and second and brought Dane Phillips to the plate. Phillips sent a grounder up the middle that McComack gloved in the hole. The throw to first was not in time, but Hunter Bailey was gunned down at the plate trying to score on the play to end the inning.