Feb. 27, 2010
LOS ANGELES - It took two extra innings, but Oklahoma State emerged a winner in its season opener Friday night at Dedeaux Field as the Cowboys bested USC, 6-4, in opening round action at the Dodgertown Classic.
Dusty Harvard was the hero as the Cowboy senior drove in pinch runner Carlos Saade with a single to plate the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning. Matt Peck picked up his first win since 2008 with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief.
With the game tied 4-4 entering the 11th, freshman Dane Phillips led off the inning with a single to right field. Saade replaced Phillips at first and after the first out of the inning, stole second to move into scoring position. Harvard then stepped to the plate and delivered a line drive to center field to bring Saade home.
OSU added its final run on an error by Trojan left fielder Matt Foat to make it 6-4.
The game was a pitcher's duel early on between OSU's Tyler Lyons and USC's Andrew Triggs as both hurlers had shutouts through the first five frames.
The Cowboys used several stellar defensive plays to aid their effort early in the contest.
In the fourth, Harvard made a leaping, diving catch in centerfield to rob Foat of an extra-base hit, and in the next inning, another strong defensive effort kept USC off the scoreboard. Matt Hart led off the Trojans' fifth with a triple into the right-center field gap, and the next batter, Alex Sherrod sent a ground ball to Dean Green at first base. Green fired home, where OSU catcher Kevin David blocked Hart from the plate and tagged him out to keep the shutout intact.
The Cowboys finally got to Triggs in the sixth. David led off the inning with a walk and stole second with one out. Next up was Mark Ginther, who fell behind in the count but fouled off four-straight pitches before singling to left to put runners on first and third with one out.
That brought Nico Rosthenhausler to the plate, and he made his first hit in an OSU uniform a memorable one as he sent an opposite-field double down the left field line to plate the Cowboys' first two runs of the season.
The Cowboys weren't done as Green followed with an RBI double into the gap to push the lead to 3-0.
OSU added an insurance run in the eight. After Rosthenhausler walked and stole second, Phillips singled through the left side to collect an RBI and push the Cowboys' lead to four.
After seven scoreless innings in which he struck out seven and allowed just five hits, Lyons was finished, and the Trojans took advantage.
Mike Strong relieved Lyons in the eighth and retired the first two batters he faced. But the southpaw gave up a single to Mike O'Neill, and Foat followed with a two-run home run to left-center field to make the score 4-2.
Strong then gave up another single to bring the tying run to the plate before Cowboy closer Randy McCurry was called out of the bullpen. But McCurry, who tied a school record with 10 saves last season as freshman, suffered an injury while warming up.
That freak incident brought Trevor Walch to the mound, and the Cowboy freshman responded to the pressure situation by getting Hart to pop out to end the threat.
But the Trojans rallied again in the ninth. Walch issued a walk to the leadoff hitter, and Kevin Chambers replaced him on the mound as the Cowboys' fifth pitcher of the night.
After a single put Trojans on first and second with no outs, Cade Kreuter laid down a bunt. But David bounced out of his crouch and threw out the lead runner at third for the first out of the inning.
A nice play by Ginther on a slow-rolling grounder by pinch hitter Ashton Kent resulted in the second out and advanced both runners, but USC leadoff hitter Joe De Pinto would tie the score at 4-4 with a double into the gap.
The frame finally came to an end when Peck came on and got Foat to pop up to short to send the game into extra innings.
OSU returns to action Saturday when the Cowboys take on 17th-ranked UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. (CST).