STILLWATER — Oklahoma State exploded for five runs in the fifth then countered a late Cal State Fullerton surge as the Cowboys advanced to the Stillwater Regional finals with a 13-7 win Saturday.
The Cowboys’ fifth inning gave them an 8-1 lead. Craig McConaughy’s two-run double capped the surge. Conor Costello’s two-run home run in the seventh made it an 11-3 game, then Fullerton posted three in the seventh and one in the eighth to draw close.
OSU also pulled off a triple play in the third inning.
“That was as long and as challenging of a ball game that I’ve been in in a long time,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said after Saturday night's four-hour, 20-minute contest.
The two teams combined for 31 hits. OSU (47-16) had 16. Saulyer Saxon was 3-for-5, Tanner Krietmeier was 3-for-6 with five RBIs and Costello, McConaughy, Bryan Case and Donnie Walton each had two hits.
Cal State Fullerton will face Nebraska in an elimination game at noon. The winner gets the Cowboys at 6 p.m. and will need to win twice, including a decisive game on Monday if needed.
The early lead was good enough for Jon Perrin to get the win. Perrin (8-4) went six innings, scattering 10 hits and was touched for six runs. Vince Wheeland worked two innings of five-hit ball, allowing one run and Brendan McCurry threw one inning, striking out the side in the ninth.
Perrin also started the triple play in the third inning.
Fullerton (33-23) had Timmy Richards on second base and Clay Williamson on first with no outs. The runners started on Perrin’s pitch to Keegan Dale, who lined out to Perrin. The pitcher doubled up Richards and second, and Walton relayed a throw to first base to complete the triple play.
“The triple play was a first for me. I’ve never been a part of one of those,” Holliday said. “They were looking to get right back in the game and they are an aggressive, tough-minded team ... if you play baseball and coach it long enough, you’ll see almost anything.”
Cal State Fullerton was led by Davi Olmedo-Barrrera, who was 3-for-5. The top four players in its lineup had 11 hits.
Oklahoma State is looking to advance to its first Super Regional since 2007, when it won the Fayetteville Regional but lost two of three games at Louisville with a College World Series berth on the line.