Frisco, Texas – In a game where offense was at a premium, the Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4, 0-0 Big 12) scored a run in the third inning on a wild pitch and it was all it needed in a 1-0 win over the Nebraska baseball team (2-5, 0-0 Big Ten) on Friday night at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Oklahoma State starter Tyler Buffett tossed 7.1 shutout innings and allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out seven. A seventh-round pick by Houston in 2016, Buffett retired NU’s offense in order four times on the night. A pair of OSU relievers tossed 1.2 perfect innings down the stretch to preserve the shutout.
Derek Burkamper gave the Huskers 3.0 innings and allowed just one run on four hits, but did walk three. Sophomore Matt Waldron took over in the fourth and in his first relief outing of the year he struck out six over 3.0 shutout innings. Waldron was one strikeout away from matching his career high seven strikeouts against Indiana last year.
After the teams combined for no runs on two hits though two innings, the Cowboys plated the game’s first run in the bottom of the third. Burkamper retired the first two batters of the frame before Ryan Sluder lined a double down the left-field line. Garrett Benge then worked a walk and on ball four a wild pitch moved Sluder to third. Colin Simpson stepped in and the first pitch to him was another wild pitch that scored Sluder and moved Benge into scoring position at second base. Two pitches later Simpson lined a single into left field and Benge tried to score, but Luis Alvarado cut him down at the plate to keep it a 1-0 Cowboy lead through three complete.
The Cowboys were in position to add more in the fourth when they had the bases loaded with no outs, but Waldron came on and shutdown the rally with three strikeouts. Burkamper gave up a leadoff single and walk, which ended his night. Waldron took over and gave up a single to load the bases with no outs. Waldron struck out OSU’s No. 8 and 9 hitters before the lineup rolled over with the bases still loaded for leadoff hitter Garrett McCain. The Husker sophomore got McCain swinging to leave the bases loaded and keep OSU’s lead at 1-0.
The Huskers got their leadoff man on in the fifth when Jesse Wilkening laced a single to left. The inning quickly ended following a failed sacrifice bunt and a strikeout before Wilkening was out at second trying to advance on a wild pitch.
After Wilkening singled in the fifth Buffett retired nine straight Huskers before he was lifted in the eighth with one out. OSU’s pitching staff retired the final 14 batters of the game.
The Huskers will be back at Dr Pepper Ballpark tomorrow night for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with the #24 Arkansas Razorbacks, who opened the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Arizona. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.
Head Coach Darin Erstad
"I wouldn't say we had chances throughout the night. When you face a quality pitcher like (Tyler) Buffett, you're going to have a few chances. You have to take advantage of them. Our pitchers pitched well enough to win; we played well enough defensively to win. Offensively, not that we were chasing balls in the dirt, but he's sinking the ball pretty good, cutting the ball pretty well and we just couldn't get the ball in the air. We were trying to make in-box adjustments; we weren't handling his velocity. You know it's going to be a game like that when he is pitching very well. Outside of a couple wild pitches, we were going toe-to-toe with them. Matt (Waldron) got us out of a bases-loaded jam. We had a couple of opportunities and that was it and we couldn't make the most of them."
"There's no time to pout. We're going to face another great arm tomorrow and another one on Sunday. This is big boy baseball. Hopefully by the time I get on the bus, they're done pouting."
Relief Pitcher Matt Waldron
"I'm not used to coming out of the bullpen. Ultimately you still have to throw strikes; you still have the same job. Pitching out of the bullpen isn't any different, just different situations. (Derek) Burkamper did a great job tonight. Coach is right; we have a lot of great pitchers. You have to earn your spot to start. It's a battle. I trust all the others guys out there."