The sun shown brightly over Allie P. Reynolds Stadium before game three of the baseball series with Texas Monday, providing warmth and all the impressions of optimal baseball weather. And a tied series with the defending national champions set the stage for a great afternoon of which neither the weather, nor the game itself disappointed.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys combined solid hitting and ample pitching to tear the series away from Texas with a 9-5 victory.
"Anybody that paid a dollar to get in, got a chance to see, not a good college baseball game, but I've gotta put it in the category of a great one," said OSU coach Tom Holliday.
The Cowboys (14-8, 2-1 Big 12) shot ahead of Texas (19-10, 4-2) in the bottom of the first inning after Texas starting pitcher Sam LeCure walked the first two OSU batters and allowed a base hit by Cowboy first baseman John Urick to load the bases with one out.
Catcher Jason Jaramillo stepped to the plate and belted a grand slam just over the 390 ft. marker in deep left field.
After that blast, the Longhorns would never lead and would only tie the game briefly in the top of sixth. Jaramillo would finish an amazing series with three home runs and seven RBI in the game, bringing his series total to four home runs and 11 RBI.
"Jaramillo probably had the series of a lifetime, because he won both games for us offensively," Holliday said, referring back to Jaramillo's four RBI's in Saturday's 4-3 win.
"Today, I had a pretty good game, a pretty good game," Jaramillo said. "The bottom line: we won. I wouldn't have been happy if we lost."
Urick also provided solid offense Monday, hitting 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored, giving the Cowboys an important second threat at the plate.
OSU starting pitcher Joe Weaver pitched 5.2 innings and gave up all five Texas runs in a solid performance until the wind carried three of four batter's hits over the wall, allowing Texas to tie the game at five.
"I thought Joe Weaver was outstanding today," Holliday said. "I really felt like two of those home runs hit off him were wind blown, and I'm not sure that all three of them weren't aided by the wind."
After striking out his next batter, Weaver retired in favor of junior reliever Shane Hawk. Hawk pitched two scoreless innings and helped keep the Longhorns from repeating Sunday's amazing hitting performance.
"I think both slider and my fastball were there," Hawk said. "I think the fast ball was there the whole time, it was just a matter of getting it in the zone, and that was the key I think."
Junior righthander Daniel Rew completed the game, relieving Hawk with 2 outs in the top of the eighth. Rew inherited a bases-loaded situation with Longhorn second baseman Tim Moss, who had hit two triples earlier in the game, at the plate.
Moss knocked a shot back toward Rew, and Rew, wincing and raising his glove in the air, knocked it down. Then, tossing it to Urick at first base, he got the final out of the inning, preserving a 6-5 lead.
"We got the righthander against righthander matchup that we wanted and we got the third out even though he went to a 3-0 count," Holliday said. "He couldn't have done it any harder, but he did it."
During that at bat, Rew also had to deal with the wind that had carried balls out of the ballpark all day.
"Well, when the wind blows out here the ball does travel very well," Rew said. "Just keepin' the ball down, keeping the fast ball low and then keeping them off balance with my breaking ball and hope you get a ground ball there, and it happened. When the ball is hit back at you you do everything you can to get in front of it and knock it down to the ground and don't let it deflect."
The fans in the crowd tensed during that moment, but Jaramillo had confidence in Rew.
"He's one of those pitchers who has control," Jaramillo said. "I had total confidence in him that he could get the job done, and he did."
With only a one point lead going into the bottom of the eighth, the Cowboys scored three runs, including two off Jaramillo's third long ball of the game to gain some cushion at 9-5.
In the ninth inning, the Cowboys netted two outs quickly, but then Rew walked Longhorn preseason All American Dustin Majewski, and first baseman Curtis Thigpen put runners on the corners with a base hit up the middle. Once again, Texas put the Cowboys in a jam, especially considering the Longhorns have scored 64 of their 182 runs coming into the series with two outs.
"This one wasn't over till it was over," Holliday said. "Even in the ninth when they get the two guys on, they're only one runner from the fly ball hitters that hit the home runs in the inning that knocked Joe (Weaver) out. They were just one guy away from lookin' for that wind-blown home run again to get 'em back in it. But Danny Rew's been magic."
And Rew waved his wand one last time, forcing a grounder from Texas third baseman J.D. Reininger that netted the final out getting Majewski at second and winning the game for OSU.
"(We were) Real confident after those close calls; we were confident that we would get it done and we did get it done," Jaramillo said of the team.
Combined, the duo of Hawk and Rew shut out the Longhorn offense for the final 3.1 innings, as the two have done many times before.
"The way he (Rew) did, the way Hawk did, it's the way the old book read," Holliday said.
Hawk said he could have stayed in the game, but Rew's presence on the mound helped him leave the game content.
"I was ready to keep going, but I leave the field with a smile on my face when Rew comes in," Hawk said. "He's my right hand man and I'm his left hand man and that's how we like to think of it."
The Cowboys head right back to the field today at 3 p.m. against the University of Texas at Arlington (16-12).
"Tomorrow's a very difficult game for us to play, and they're a very good ballclub," Holliday said. "Obviously the cancellation of the first game of this series put us in a real tough one for tomorrow, but these kids like to play baseball and we'll get some fresh bodies out there. Pitchingwise tomorrow it'll be a serious challenge."
Meeting the challenge on the mound for OSU will be junior lefthander Justin Ottman along with junior Justin Quaempts and freshman Brett McDonald among others.