STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning and suffered a 5-4 loss to No. 6 Texas A&M in Saturday’s regular season finale at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
With the loss, the 22nd-ranked Cowboys end Big 12 Conference play with a 13-11 record and finish fifth in the league standings. OSU, which is 32-23 overall, will open play in the Big 12 Baseball Championship Wednesday against No. 4-seed Oklahoma at Oklahoma City’s Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Saturday’s heartbreaker marked OSU’s 11th-straight loss to Texas A&M, and the Aggies became just the fourth team in the 32-year history of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium to sweep a three-game series against the Cowboys on their home field (Texas and Missouri in 2007, Texas A&M in 2010).
Daniel Mengden was the hero for TAMU (41-14, 16-8) in the finale as the freshman was called on to pinch hit with two on and one out in the ninth against OSU’s Blake Barnes and blasted his first-career home run over the left-center field wall to give the Aggies a 5-4 lead. Mengden had not previously had an at bat in a game since March 13.
Mengden also came up big in the bottom of the ninth as he took the mound and earned his third save of the season, though not before the Cowboys made things interesting.
Wes Jones led off the ninth for the Cowboys with a single, and Gage Green was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Up next, Saulyer Saxon failed to get a bunt down before striking out. Mengden then struck out pinch hitter Jordan Mings and Robbie Rea to end the game.
The loss spoiled a career effort by OSU’s Randy McCurry. The first seven batters the junior right-hander retired in the game came via strikeout, and he finished with a career-high 12 punchouts in eight innings of work. He allowed just two runs, with only one of those earned, and one walk.
With McCurry baffling the Aggies all day, OSU led throughout much of the contest.
The Cowboys took an early lead in the second inning on a two-out, two-RBI double by Saxon, but they promptly surrendered the lead in the third when TAMU got a two-out hit of their own, this one a two-RBI single by Jacob House that tied the game at 2-2.
But next it would be the Cowboys answering as they took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the frame on an RBI groundout by Trey Whaley. OSU doubled its lead in the fourth on Saxon’s third RBI of the game, this one on a single, as the Cowboys went up, 4-2.
That score remained until the ninth. With McCurry’s day on the mound done, Barnes came out of the bullpen and promptly walked the first hitter he faced. After a strikeout and a single, Mendgen stepped to the plate and deposited a 2-1 pitch over the wall for what proved to be the game-winning runs.
With the loss, Barnes fell to 5-5 on the season; TAMU’s Parker Ray was the winner as he improved to 2-1.