June 8, 2014

UC Irvine ends OSU’s season

June 8, 2014 By Andrew Glover CNHI News Service

STILLWATER — The Oklahoma State Cowboys had their backs against the wall Saturday night — facing elimination with a second round Major League Baseball draft pick on the mound. Like they have all year, the Cowboys fought hard but came up short in extending their season in a 1-0 loss to University of California Irvine in the second game of Super Regionals.

“It was a tough ball game,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “It was a hard fought. ... We put our guys out there and went with our best bullets. We came up a little bit short.”

UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales, who was drafted 71st overall by the St. Louis Cardinals, faced baserunners in the first six innings but escaped unscathed. He finished the game by retiring the last nine batters for a complete-game shutout.

“I was trusting my curve ball and slider,” Morales said. “Those were my two best pitches all year. It was hard for me to throw at the beginning because it was humid out there and I wasn’t used to that. I overcame adversity and battled back.”

In the third and fifth innings, Bryan Case led off with singles and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and ground out. Tanner Krietemeier flied out and struck out to end both innings. Tim  Arakawa said Morales really attacked the strike zone.

“He threw three pitches, all of them for strikes,” he said. “You never knew what was coming. We put some good swings on him and hit the ball well. We just didn’t find the holes.”

Oklahoma State’s Vince Wheeland — who was taken in the 24th round by the Houston Astros and making his first start since April 27 — got an out with his first pitch but allowed back-to-back singles. After getting a flyout, Jonathan Munoz doubled to the left field corner to give UCI a 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, singles by Justin Castro and Taylor Sparks with two outs put runners on the corners. The Cowboys got out of the inning as they caught the Anteaters attempting a double steal.

The Anteaters (40-23) continued to hit Wheeland as Chris Rabago and Connor Spencer each reached on singles and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. A bunt pop up and a groundout kept it a one score game. Wheeland said his defense really stepped up.

“The defense played incredible as always,” he said. “They were always picking me up. I couldn’t have asked anything more out of them.”

The next three innings would be uneventful for Wheeland, as he only gave up a single in the fourth. In the fifth, he gave up a walk but Arakawa caught a line drive and threw to first to complete a double play. After giving up a two-out single in the sixth, Wheeland got his first strikeout to end the inning.

The senior got the first two outs of the seventh before beinng pulled for Brendan McCurry. Wheeland received a standing ovation when he walked back to the dugout.

“Tremendous effort from Vince Wheeland,” Holliday said. “He gave a courageous effort and I’m extremely proud of how he responded to the start. He was a fantastic performer here.”

The next inning, McCurry retired the side with a strikeout and two flyouts.

UC Irvine advances to their second College World Series appearance and face the University of Texas.

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