MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OSU

May 25, 2014

Cowboys’ late heroics earn championship bid

OKLAHOMA CITY – An eighth-inning rally by the Cowboys in both games on Saturday led Oklahoma State past Texas, 3-1 and 6-4, to advance Saturday in the 2014 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Bricktown Ballpark.

The Cowboys (45-15), the top seed in the tournament, move on to face second-seeded TCU in the championship game at 4:30 p.m. today. With the loss, Texas was eliminated.

A three-run rally in the bottom of the eighth kept top-seeded Oklahoma State alive in the first game while another three-run rally in the second game gave OSU the lead for good.

In the first game, the Cowboys, seeking to become just the fifth No. 1 seed to win the title, overcame a base-running blunder to start the eighth inning and got three clutch run-scoring singles to post the victory over Texas and force the winner-take-all contest.

The Longhorns (38-17) took a 1-0 lead by pushing across a run on Ben Johnson’s infield single with the bases loaded. Cowboys reliever Alex Hackerott came on to induce an inning-ending double play.

Texas starter Nathan Thornhill was lights out, allowing just two hits through the first seven innings. Craig McConaughy led off the Oklahoma State eighth with a single but was picked off when pinch hitter Aaron Cornell failed to get a bunt down.

Cornell, though, singled to start the decisive rally. After a walk to Saulyer Saxon – in the lineup because Big 12 Player of the Year Zach Fish was sidelined with an ankle injury – shortstop Donnie Walton’s run-scoring single to left. Tanner Krietemeier and Tim Arakawa each knocked in runs with singles to cap the scoring.

Of Oklahoma State’s 45 victories, 27 have been comeback triumphs including all four here at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

UT’s Mark Payton was 0-for-3 but he drew a leadoff walk in the first inning of Game 1 and was 2-for-3 in the second game to give him a Big 12 record of 95 consecutive games reaching base safely.

In the “if necessary” game, the Oklahoma State defense wiggled out of a bases-loaded situation in the first, surrendering just one run, and slammed in two runs in the top of the second to take a 2-1 lead thanks to a home run from Conor Costello.

Texas (38-16) pulled one back in the bottom of the inning with an infield single from Zane Gurwitz.

It became a game of homers for OSU as Bryan Case hit his second this tournament to put the Cowboys (45-15) up 3-1 in the third.

Texas took advantage of a two and a half-hour rain delay, tying up the score 3-3 with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Longhorns added another in the bottom of the sixth with line single by Mark Peyton, edging UT ahead 4-3.

Texas’ lead wouldn’t last long, though, as OSU rallied in the eighth inning to reclaim the advantage. Tanner Kreitemeier’s two-run single to center field made it a 5-4 ball game and a sacrifice fly to center added one more run to the Cowboys’ lead. That rally would end up being the final runs scored, securing the win for Oklahoma State.

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