After the Cowboys second-straight loss to the Bears Saturday, OSU coach Tom Holliday called Baylor centerfielder Chris Durbin "a thorn in our side." But, for more than eight innings Sunday, OSU starting pitcher Joe Weaver removed the foreign object, healing the Cowboy defense.
The Cowboys (22-11, 8-4 Big 12) outlasted Baylor (25-14, 8-7) to fend off a series sweep at home 10-7.
I thought we fought til the end," Holliday said. "Winning the third game, that one win right there may have heavy bearing at the end of the season."
Weaver's career-high eight strikeouts, including two by Durbin, in 8.2 innings led the way for OSU's only win of the series.
"Joe came out and pitched a perfect game pretty much," said OSU centerfielder Jose Virgil. "They definitely have some good hitters and they're a pretty good ballclub. They're gonna be in a regional. Joe came out today and pitched one hell of a ball game."
Weaver held the Bears to two runs through eight innings on his way to his third win of the season.
"It was a good game; that's all I can say," Weaver said. "I was just trying to get outs, just trying to get one inning after another."
Durbin, who went 9-for-11 in the first two games of the series went 0-for-3 until his final at bat. The Cowboys retired 10 batters in succession before BU got its first hit giving the offense a chance to hold off the sweep.
"You never wanna, in a three game series, let another team come in and sweep you," Virgil said. "That's the absolute worst feeling that a ballclub can have is when somebody comes into your house and takes three games from you."
OSU rightfielder Lindsay Simmons scored the first run of the game on a double-play ball by first baseman John Urick in the first. The Pokes notched three more runs in the second inning, two on a home run by leftfielder Scott Kirby that hit the top of the net in left field.
"I think it was definitely important to come out and score early against them and score a lot because they put up 34 runs in two games against us," Virgil said. "So I definitely thought that it was very important for us to come out and score a lot of runs early."
The Cowboy offense increased the lead to 7-0 in the third on a home run to right field by second baseman Kenny Hansley, and Weaver kept the Bears off the board until the fifth.
"Kinda makes it look easy, simple. When you play defense and pitch and hit; that's the kind of game you're lookin for," Holliday said. "That was a combination of everything right there."
But Baylor didn't roll over. They scored in the fifth when first baseman Mark Saccomano sent a ball over the wall in center field cutting the lead to five at 7-2. Then Weaver stepped up once again and retired the next eight batters knowing he had to go deep into the game for OSU to win.
"It's kind of tough because we used a lot of the bullpen in the last couple of days, and I knew we'd be runnin' low," Weaver said. "We've got big games this week and I just wanted to try and give a little to the team, give the arms in the bullpen a break, not having to double up days."
The Cowboys scored their final runs in the bottom of the fifth off a base hit by Virgil increasing the lead to 10-2. Everything seemed in OSU's favor going into the ninth inning, and optimism arose for Weaver's first complete game of his college career.
BU designated hitter Ross Bennett led off the inning with a walk, putting pressure on OSU's defense. The next play, Kirby responded by snagging a fly ball by third baseman Michael Griffin off the top of the left field wall, stealing a home run.
But Weaver wore down with one out remaining. With the lead cut to 10-4, Durbin stepped to the plate and forced Weaver out of the game with a blast over the net in left field that closed the gap to 10-7.
"I thought Weaver was outstanding. I wanted to get him sooner," Holliday said of the decision to leave Weaver in more than eight innings. "I wanted him to walk off with more of a feeling than he ended up with. Complete games mean nothing to me. That's one stat on a college book that has the least amount of value to me as a coach and has for 28 years. But, I got talked into it and they (Baylor) took it right down to the wire."
Reliever Aaron Whitehead finished the game for Weaver by forcing Bears' catcher Josh Ford into a fielder's choice.
"I was out of gas, but Aaron did a great job comin in," Weaver said. "You couldn't ask for a better guy to come in like that and get the job done. We got a win, that's all that really matters."
The Baylor Bears next stop is San Marcos, Texas to play Southwest Texas Tuesday before a home series against Missouri. OSU has two more games at home against Texas Pan-Am before it heads to College Station, Texas for a big conference series with the Aggies.
"I think both clubs right now are totally wore out and rightfully so," Holliday said. "Not a whole lot of time to enjoy, we lost the series two games to one and I'm sure that will satisfy Baylor on the way home. We have to get our sights set on our pitching. We have Tuesday and Wednesday to get some guys there and get ready for another tough club at A&M."