Oklahoma State baseball coach Tom Holliday spoke prophetically when he said the Cowboys would see how a national championship team plays when it is angry.
The truth in his statement resonated throughout Allie P. Reynolds Stadium Sunday as the Longhorns blasted OSU 15-5.
The Longhorns (19-9, Big 12 4-1) tied the series with OSU (13-8, 1-1) that will conclude Monday at 2 p.m.
"I think that we responded well. He knows that, he's a great coach," said Texas coach Auggie Garrido of Holliday's prediction. "He knows that we're going to be competitive. Not specifically as a result of losing. We were more aggressive and more consistent. He was right about that."
The Longhorns took the first lead of the game in the top of the second, 1-0. But the Cowboys answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. After Texas right fielder Dustin Majewski drove in two more runs with a base hit in the top of the third, it looked like both teams might break it open.
But OSU junior Scott Kirby struck out with two men on base and no outs in the bottom of the third, stalling the Cowboy offense until the bottom of the ninth.
"I really felt like when it was 3-2 and we had two guys on and nobody out, and Kirby's at bat, I thought it was a turning point," Holliday said. "We were seeing the starter pretty good, and I thought we had the right matchup and when Kirby didn't get it done, they seemed to relax."
After that at bat, Texas pitcher J.P. Howell gained his composure and finished his five-inning performance without giving up any more runs, striking out eight batters in all.
The hitting for the Cowboys lacked production from then until a surge in the bottom of the ninth that produced two inconsequential runs on two homers by first baseman John Urick and catcher Cory Von Tungeln.
The biggest bright spot for the OSU offense was senior second baseman Brian Kraft, who hit 2-for-4 and scored two runs.
However, the offense for Texas smoked Cowboy pitchers the entire game, scoring their second-highest run total of the season.
"When they relaxed today they pounded the ball all day long," Holliday said. "Nobody out of our bullpen could get 'em out and that's why they are who they are."
Although Texas has won a lot of games this season, they have struggled at times to score runs.
"Kind of shows you that statistics don't matter much," Garrido said. "It's about the moment and it's about the opportunity. The best thing about baseball, the unexpected can be expected to happen. I think that's what happened here."
The Cowboy pitchers hurled a lackluster game at best. Starting pitcher Spencer Grogan couldn't seem to get it together.
"Our starter was a little off today," Holliday said. "He was good his last outing and today he was a little bit off and in trouble right from the get go. Four innings in a row they got their lead off guy on and that's dangerous with a team like they have."
With a win still in reach, down 3-2, the relievers had to come in and try to slow things down, but just dug the hole deeper.
"When you're on the wrong side of the scoreboard, somebody in the middle has to give you good middle relief pitching and Cody King just wasn't real sharp either," Holliday said. "He put us in a hole and I thought (Thomas) Cowely came in and stopped the bleeding."
If Cowley stopped the bleeding, junior righthander Jimmy Rhodes not only reopened the wound, but slashed a few more for good measure.
At one point, Rhodes looked as though he was tossing batting practice instead of a game. He gave up seven hits and seven earned runs in only 2.2 innings.
But the blame cannot all fall on the Cowboys' pitching, the Longhorns are in the top 10 of every major baseball poll.
"That's not an average ballclub over there, don't kid yourself," Holliday said. "They got six people that walked off the field with a national championship. Those six guys can play and hit for anybody in the country."
The Longhorns carry momentum into the final game of the series, but Garrido said it will be a battle.
"It'll be a competitive game," Garrido said. "They have a fine team and are very well coached. They got good athletes and I think it will be a battle for the momentum of the game."
Holliday said regardless the score of this game, the Cowboys will be ready to play Monday.
"The series is 1-1, whether it's 15-5 or 2-1, the series is 1-1," Holliday said. "I feel like we're loaded up tomorrow."
Junior righthander Joe Weaver will start for OSU, and junior relievers Shane Hawk and Daniel Rew, among others, will carry the bullpen in hopes of slowing down the Texas hitters.
"If we woke them up today, then maybe they left all their base hits on the field today," Holliday said.