May 24, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – Top-seeded Oklahoma State rallied late to remain in the title hunt at the Big 12 Baseball Championship Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win over No. 5-seed Texas at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
With the victory, OSU forced an if-necessary game Saturday night to determine who will face TCU in Sunday’s championship contest.
OSU erased a 1-0 deficit against the Longhorns with a three-run eighth inning as the Cowboys notched their 26th come-from-behind win and improved to 44-15. The 44 wins are the most for the program since 2008, with the last time the Pokes reached the 45-win mark coming in 1999.
Neither team managed much offense early, and the game entered the fifth inning scoreless as OSU’s Thomas Hatch and UT’s Nathan Thornhill dueled it out on the mound.
However, the Longhorns finally got to Hatch in the fifth, loading the bases on two singles and a walk before an RBI infield hit by Ben Johnson put UT up 1-0. OSU shortstop Donnie Walton made an outstanding play on Johnson’s ball up the middle to keep it on the infield and save a second run.
The Cowboys failed to get a hit off Thornhill until a leadoff single by Conor Costello in the fifth inning, then stranded a pair of runners in the sixth.
Things didn’t start smoothly. Craig McConaughy opened the frame with a single but was picked off before a sacrifice bunt could be executed.
However, pinch hitter Aaron Cornell delivered a single, and Saulyer Saxon walked to bring Walton to the plate. And the sophomore delivered, sending a single through the left side to bring home the tying run.
Up next, it was Tanner Krietemeier’s turn as he laced a single to right field. Saxon raced home from second and slid ahead of the tag at the plate to provide the go-ahead run.
After a strikeout, OSU tallied its third run of the inning on an RBI single to push the Cowboys’ advantage to two.
With a 3-1 lead, McCurry came on to slam the door in the ninth, and the righty set UT down in order, striking out Kacy Clemens to end the game and notch his 18th save of the year.
Blake Battenfield earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief as the freshman struck out a career-high four in improving to 3-0.