College baseball tends to lack excitement and significance in midweek on most occasions. However, Oklahoma State accomplished rare feats in their Tuesday game against Texas Pan American coming away with a 15-0 lambasting ... in the first inning.
The Cowboys (24-11, 8-4 Big 12) forced a seventh-inning exit by the Broncs (19-22) with an impressive 24-1 waxing.
"If there is such a thing in baseball, 20-0 is a perfect game," said OSU coach Tom Holliday. "Twenty-four to one — that's pretty close. I don't know that I've ever seen a first inning like that in my career. That isn't demeaning Pan-American, our guys were just that sharp right out of the chute."
The first inning sported two rare occurances. The first was OSU starting pitcher Jimmy Rhodes' solid pitching that sent three of the first four UTPA batters back to the dugout, allowing only one hit and no runs.
"Jimmy Rhodes did exactly what our pitchers have to do for us on Tuesday," Holliday said. "He went out and was really, really sharp and gave us five great innings and now we get him back for the weekend."
Then the offense took over, starting with a base hit by rightfielder Lindsay Simmons and ending with a fly out to right field on his third at bat of the inning.
UTPA starting pitcher Aaron Guerra was forced from the game after only one out and an ERA for the game of 216.
The 15 hits and 15 runs were the most notched in one inning in OSU baseball history.
"I don't know that tonight's game could have gone any better for us," Holliday said. "We got absolutely everything out of it we wanted."
From that point forward, OSU coasted to the victory. Rhodes ended his game after five complete innings, only giving up one run.
"I thought Jimmy was beautiful," Holliday said. "He pounded his sliders through the wind and kept his fastball down, and just to let somebody only score one run on a windy night like this, that takes some kind of pitching effort."
OSU's next milestone came in the fourth inning when third baseman Josh Fields belted a triple that completed the cycle. It marked the first time that a Cowboy hit for the cycle since Manny Cervantes accomplished the feat 15 years ago.
"First time I have ever hit for the cycle — ever," Fields said. "I didn't know that it hadn't been done in 15 years either."
Fields finished the game 4-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored in four offensive innings. By the end of the fifth, every starter, except shortstop Chris Gutierrez, had been replaced.
"They (the bench) didn't walk up there and just wave at it either, they gave me good at-bats. In a game like that you can lose your concentration real quick and let the other team back in it and our (bench) didn't do that. It really helps the morale of the ballclub to get those guys involved."
The Cowboys, weather permitting, will head back to the diamond Wednesday at 3 p.m. for a second game against the Broncs.
"Tomorrow we get their No. 1 pitcher, the guy who beat Oral Roberts Friday night, and we'll get challenged and then hit the road Thursday for Texas A&M," Holliday said. "Midweek baseball gets you ready for the weekend and boy, to get that many at-bats tonight, geez-o-whiz, I think everyone had at least three or four. That keeps the morale of the ballclub up, gets the bench players involved."
Every game for the rest of the season bears importance for the Cowboys, who are still in the maturing process.
"This club's growing," Holliday said. "It's just growin and growin everytime we play. Every game somebody is doing something different good. It's kinda fun watching them grow up. Grow up, grow together. Tomorrow's a big one for us."