Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

June 3, 2014

OSU rallies to beat Fullerton, wins regional

STILLWATER — It was a scenario Oklahoma State has faced all season. And just as they had 27 times before, the Cowboys overcame an early deficit to pull out a victory.

But this time it wasn’t just another regular season game. Instead, the 6-4 win over Cal State Fullerton sent OSU to the Super Regionals for the first time in seven years.

“One thing about this team is that we’re resilient,” said Cowboy shortstop Donnie Walton, who was named the Stillwater Regional’s Most Outstanding Player. “Even when we’re down, we’re calm and we can come back and make a run at it.”

Oklahoma State’s starting pitcher Tyler Nurdin couldn’t even get out of the first inning, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks to eight batters faced, and was pulled for freshman Trey Cobb with the bases loaded — which Cobb ended with one of his two strikeouts.

The freshman from Broken Arrow proved to be the perfect pitcher to neutralize the Titans.

Cobb went 5 1/3 innings — the longest outing in his short college career — with CSF only scoring an unearned run on him in the fifth inning. The Titans mustered six hits on the freshman, but he got OSU out of two bases loaded situations.

With Cobb slowing down CSF, Oklahoma State was able to mount its 28th come-from-behind victory on Cal State Fullerton starting pitcher Phil Bickford.

OSU got its first run across in the bottom of the fourth — after Cobb stranded two Titan runners in the top half of the frame — thanks to Tanner Krietemeier get OSU’s first hit of the game. Two errors by the CSF defense allowed Krietemeier to score, but that was all the Cowboys would score with Bickford leaving three runners on base.

Two innings later, Conor Costello knocked out his second home run of the tournament — with Tim Arakawa on base with a leadoff single — to cut OSU’s deficit to one run.

“I just happened to get some good pitches to hit and I just put some good swings on them,” Costello said. “Up and down the lineup has just been really good throughout this whole tournament.”

With the momentum on OSU’s side after fellow freshman pitcher Blake Battenfield facing the minimum in seventh — after Garrett Williams was pulled for hitting the first batter he faced — the Cowboys got its biggest inning of the contest.

Fueled by five hits and another CSF error, Oklahoma State scratched three runs across in the seventh to claim the two-run lead.

Cowboy closer Brendan McCurry came in for the final two innings to clinch the win. McCurry retired all three batters in the eighth, but had to escape a bases loaded situation — for the third time in the game.

Oklahoma State will face the winner of the Corvallis (Ore.) Regional — which will either be top-seeded Oregon State or UC Irvine. At press time, Oregon State held a 4-0 lead on UC Irvine in the sixth inning, which would force an “if necessary” championship game Monday night in the double elimination tournament.

“The players picked each other up and did what teams do — they found ways to win,” Cowboy coach Josh Holliday said. “I’m really proud of them. This is a tribute to them and our fans for helping us feel like we’ve arrived a little bit again.”

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