MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

May 11, 2013

Cowboys rally to beat OU

TULSA — Filling in for an injured Victor Romero behind the plate, Gage Green did more than catch a complete game by Oklahoma State ace Jason Hursh against Bedlam rival Oklahoma.

Green, OSU's regular starter in left field, came through in the clutch to deliver the game-winning run in the top of the eighth as the Cowboys won the series opener 4-3 at ONEOK Field.

"Had a runner on second and was just waiting for them to give an off-speed pitch. They threw me two fastballs over the outer half and I just waited for something to start at me and break away," said Green, who went 3 for 4 at the plate to tie his career high in hits after being informed 10 minutes before the game he would start at catcher. "He threw that (0-2) pitch and I was able to flip my hands and get it over the shortstop."

Green's battery mate, Hursh, finished with nine strikeouts against OU, his most since the Big 12 Conference opener against Baylor on March 22, and was one shy of his career best for strikeouts. He gave up just one big hit — a three-run home run — but held the Sooners down to clinch his third complete game of the season.

"It's huge. That's the challenge of the Friday guy faces every time he goes out is to get the series off on the right foot," Hursh said. "I hadn't really done that my last couple starts, but just really focused on the glove tonight and executed my pitches."

Oklahoma State took advantage of a mistake from its Bedlam rival to score the first run of the game.

Trey Whaley reached on an error in the third inning when OU's Matt Oberste and Hector Lorenzana ran into each on a bloop into right field and Whaley was able to advance all the way to second on the miscue. Two batters later, leadoff man Saulyer Saxon came through with a two-out single with Whaley just barely beating the throw at the plate.

"We're just a bunch of tough, scrappy guys that never give up," Green said. "We've got a bunch of tough guys out there that can play with a lot of energy to help us get the job done."

The Cowboys missed a chance to build on the momentum in the fourth with Randy McCurry and Zach Fish reaching base on a double and a single, respectively. But the rally ended with the next two batters being retired.

Instead, it was the Sooners that gained the momentum in the fourth with Lorenzana making up for the error charged to him in the third.

With Max White reaching on a double and Hunter Haley earned a two-out walk, Lorenzana blasted a pitch from Hursh into the right field bullpens to give OU the 3-1 advantage.

But OSU didn't allow the lead to last, knotting the game at 3 with a rally in the top of the fifth. Whaley led things off with a walk and Gage Green followed with a double down the right field line. With the next two batters going down in order, Tanner Krietemeier gave the Cowboys another two-out, run-scoring hit with a single to center that plate both runners.

"The response when we got down 3-1, to come back and score right away was a continued sign of who these kids are and the way they've played all year," OSU coach Josh Holliday said. "... Two-out, timely hits are tough to come by and so some times runners will get left on base for a few innings can eventually lead to another opportunity where a clutch hit will fall."

The theme of big two-out hits for OSU came into play again in the eighth.

Robbie Rea led off the inning with a single to right and was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Aaron Cornell. After a lineout by Whaley, Green ripped an 0-2 count to center, which tailed away from OU center fielder Craig Aikin to allow Rea to score standing up.

"I think Gage's clutch hit there in the eighth was very deserving," Holliday said. "He was in the batting cage ... back in Stillwater working on the exact same pitch that he got that hit on. To see a kid working on left-handed breaking ball to flip his hands to get the base hit and have it all come together for him in the moment, I'm very proud of him."

The series now shifts to Oklahoma City for Saturday and Sunday, with action picking back up at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bricktown Ballpark. The Cowboys will likely face Oklahoma's ace Jonathan Gray, who had his start pushed back, while OSU will likely turn to its normal Saturday starter in left-hander Tyler Nurdin.

 

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