MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OSU

June 5, 2014

ONLINE EXTRA: Costello's surge helps Pokes surge

STILLWATER — Sunday night, Conor Costello came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth with Oklahoma State trailing Cal State Fullerton by three runs. With a 2-0 count, the Cowboys seventh-hole hitter powered the next pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run and helped Oklahoma State pull out a 6-4 come from behind victory.

“I was just trying to help the team and put the ball in play,” Costello said. “It just happened to get out of the ball park.”

Costello’s recent surge in power has helped Oklahoma State reach the Super Regionals for the first time since 2007.

“I’ve made contact all year, it’s really the team and the trust we have with each other,” Costello said. “You just go out there every day, you’re comfortable and calm in every at-bat.”

The sophomore also drove in the Cowboys’ first run of the game Sunday. During the three-game regional tournament, Costello went 6 for 12 and also hit a two-run home run in Saturday’s victory over Cal State Fullerton and finished with six RBIs.

“We just know that everyone is together,” Costello said. “The chemistry that we have and the chemistry we have had all year it’s just grown as we’ve gone through the season. We are just going to focus on the day at hand and the task at hand.”

Costello missed all of last season with an injury. He started this season playing in the field and pitching. Costello made two starts and went 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in seven innings pitched. Coach Josh Holliday decided to just have him bat.

“After a couple starts on the mound, we found he was more comfortable as an offensive player,” Holliday said. “We just gave him the chance to focus on one thing. Better focus for him as a player and more repetition coming off that year of inactivity, I think you are starting to see a young man with a boost of confidence and consistency.”

Throughout last week’s NCAA Regional, Oklahoma State received contributions up and down the lineup. In Friday’s 8-0 victory over Binghamton, Donnie Walton went 3 for 4 and scored three runs and drove one in. Zach Fish went 2 for 3 with three RBIs. In Saturday’s 13-7 victory over Cal State Fullerton, Tanner Krietemeier went 3 for 6 with five RBIs and was one of six Cowboys that had multiple hits. In Sunday’s championship victory, Tim Arakawa went 2 for 3 and drove in the winning runs.

Fish, who went 0 for 9 in the two games against Cal State Fullerton, said his teammates picked him up.

“After that first game I didn’t really do much — maybe a sac fly and a walk.,” Fish said. “The biggest thing was the way Donnie Walton, Tanner Krietemeier, Arakawa, Gage Green, the usually guys and Craig McConaughy, Conor Costello and Bryan Case — I can go up and down the lineup and tell you how people contributed. Everyone did, it was a total team effort.”

Holliday said that’s what makes his lineup tough to pitch to.

“The reason our offense has become so competitive because it’s a one through nine offense now,” Holliday said. “It’s not dependent on the three or four hole or the three, four and five hole. … We’re getting offense out of a lot of spots that’s why we are better off as a team. That’s important because I don’t think you give the other team any innings where they can run through those three guys with no problems.”

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