May 24, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State staved off elimination at the Big 12 Baseball Championship Friday night as the top-seeded and seventh-ranked Cowboys defeated Oklahoma, 11-8, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
With its fifth win over the Sooners this season, OSU improved to 43-15 and advances to face fifth-seeded Texas Saturday at 12:30 p.m. If the Cowboys win that contest, they will have to beat the Longhorns again Saturday night to advance to Sunday’s title game.
Aaron Cornell was the hero Friday against the Sooners as the senior’s three-run home run with two outs in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference. The homer was Cornell’s first of the season and third of his three-year OSU career.
Cornell’s blast came off Sheldon Neuse and helped give OSU its 25th come-from-behind win of the season after Cowboy closer Brendan McCurry held OU scoreless over the final two innings for his 17th save.
“I put a good swing on it. When I hit it, I knew – I haven’t hit one like that all year,” Cornell said. “It felt really good off the bat. I didn’t expect it out of myself.”
In a contest that was back-and-forth throughout, OSU took an early 2-0 lead in its first at bat on a two-out, two-RBI double by Tanner Krietemeier, but OU quickly tied the score with four hits off Cowboy starter Tyler Buffett in the bottom of the first.
However, the Sooners answered in the bottom of the frame, rallying for four runs on four hits and knocking Buffett from the game. Both Craig Aikin and Neuse recorded two-RBI singles in the inning to put OU on top by a 6-3 margin.
In the sixth, it was OSU with a four-run rally. The Cowboys scored their first run on a throwing error, plated another on a wild pitch and then tied the game on a Donnie Walton RBI single. Conor Costello then put the Pokes up 7-6 with a sacrifice fly.
Case’s second homer of the season, a solo shot to left field, pushed OSU’s lead to 8-6 in the seventh, but once again the Sooners answered, this time with two runs off reliever Vince Wheeland in the bottom of the inning to tie the score.
After seven innings and the score knotted at 8-8, Walton led off the eighth by reaching on an error, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and took third on a passed ball. Following an intentional walk to Tanner Krietemeier to put Cowboys on the corners with one out, OSU tried a safety squeeze bunt, but Walton was thrown out at home by Neuse.
But Cornell would erase any disappointment when he crushed a Neuse offering into the left field seats to provide what proved to be the game-winning runs.
Cornell, Case and Gage Green each collected two hits for the Cowboys, who finished with 10 on the night, and Alex Hackerott earned the win on the mound with 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief to improve to 4-1.