By DEREK BROWN
STILLWATER — No. 24 Oklahoma State was a perfect 5-0 in one-run games coming into the matchup on Tuesday night against Missouri State at home. It may have taken the Cowboys longer than they would have hoped but OSU remained perfect in tight games with a 3-2 victory after 11 innings.
Gage Green stepped to the plate with one out and Craig McConaughy at first base. Green was able to square up and send a walk-off RBI between left and centerfield. McConaughy was being waved to home at third base as the centerfielder stumbled on the play which gave McConaughy a clear run home.
“Unless I passed out coming around third base I was trying to score. It was exciting definitely,” McConaughy said.
Green finished the game going 2 of 6 but his two hits were in the bottom of the ninth and the bottom of the 11th. Green’s two RBIs were the game-tying run in the ninth and the game-winning run in the 11th.
“At the beginning of the game where I didn’t have good at bats my confidence wasn’t up like you’d like it to be but you just have guys that know that you’re going to get it done. They’ve got your back no matter what and I’m just glad they stayed behind me and allowed me to get that positive mindset to go up to the plate,” Green said.
Thomas Hatch started the game and threw the first five innings. Hatch allowed four hits and two runs. Hatch threw five strikeouts.
The Cowboys’ Brendon McCurry was awarded the win with some clutch pitching. McCurry was inserted on the bump in the top of the ninth inning and picked up six strikeouts in just three innings. McCurry allowed just two hits.
“Brendon was really sharp tonight. His ball was quick,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday said. “He’s capable of doing that. We hadn’t had a chance to use him in a while. It was good to get him in there tonight. He’s effective for us. He’s a nice weapon to have.”
The first meeting at Missouri State was a 6-0 Cowboy victory on March 18. McConaughy had a nice night four hits on five at bats and scored two runs.
The start was not perfect for OSU. The Bears’ lead-off batter, Trey Hair, reached second base after a dropped ball on strike three was overthrown to first. Hair got to third from a sacrifice fly out. Hair was sent home after Matt Fultz sent the ball to left field for a 1-0 Missouri State lead in the first inning.
After four scoreless innings the Cowboys finally got on the board. OSU had the bases loaded when Clay Murphy threw a pitch behind Matt Fultz and McConaughy crossed the plate.
At first, all three runners crossed the plate as the catcher could not find the ball to force a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth. The baseball went out of play and two Cowboy runners were sent back to second and third.
Missouri State reclaimed the lead in the top of the sixth after Trey Massenberg, base-runner for Conor Smith, was hit in by Dylan Becker for a 2-1 lead.
McCurry was called to the bump for OSU in the top of the ninth inning. McCurry saw three batters and struck them all out.
When the Cowboys needed it in the bottom of the ninth inning Gage Green hit in Aaron Cornell with a strike over the pitcher that rolled into centerfield for a 2-2 tie.
McCurry began the 10th inning with another three strikeouts for the Cowboys.
In the top of the 11th Missouri State’s Becker earned a hit to right field while Joey Hawkins was at second base. Hawkins was sent to home but Zach Fish’s throw to Green was spot on and Green tagged Hawkins to keep the game tied.
Green’s hit which brought in McConaughy was the difference in the 11th inning.
The game was the Cowboys’ first game this year that went extra innings.
The Cowboys had two errors in the victory. OSU hopes to be able to work out the kinds but was happy with how the game ended.
“We hung in there and in the end we put enough good things in there to win a ball game. That’s a credit to the kids for being resilient and not letting mistakes early on catch up with you,” Holliday said.
Oklahoma State will host TCU in a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.