After a 24-1 blasting Tuesday night, the Texas Pan American Broncs began Wednesday's game with offensive resolve, but they couldn't hold off the powerful Oklahoma State hitters in a 17-7 Cowboy victory.
The Broncs (19-23) blew the game open in the top of the first inning, 6-0, but OSU (25-11) answered by scoring at least two runs in all but one inning.
Bronc leftfielder Luis Alamia began the game by popping out to third base, but OSU starting pitcher Justin Ottman walked three-straight batters to load the bases. This set the stage for UTPA designated hitter Bruce Kennedy's single to center field that scored the first of six runs for the Broncs in the inning.
"You cannot walk people, walks lead to big innings when you are playing with a wind like this," said OSU coach Tom Holliday. "Ottman, he just gave in -- you got a guy on the mound walking around shaking his head when the wind was blowing during batting practice, it was blowing yesterday, it was blowing last night, blowing this morning. You gotta beat the wind, and he gave into it, and it put us into a big hole."
In the bottom of the first, the Cowboys continued where they left off Tuesday by scoring five runs off Bronc starting pitcher Travis Parker and letting UTPA know they were still on top of their game.
"It probably made the day more interesting, because we had a mountain to climb right from the start," Holliday said. "Their guy did the same thing. I think the wind took the off-speed pitch away from both pitchers, and made them throw a lot of fastballs."
Parker walked two of the first three OSU batters, and Cowboy catcher Jason Jaramillo sent a pitch to right field to score the first run for OSU. The inning ended with the Cowboys cutting the lead to one at 6-5. They ripped the lead from the Broncs in the next inning on a two-run homer by OSU third baseman Josh Fields and rocketed to victory in an important game.
"In a way, those games (midweek games) are just as important as our weekend games," Holliday said. "We are playing for a conference championship on the weekend and we're playing for NCAA representation during the week. It's a tough schedule designed for two purposes, and right now if we keep swinging the bat, we'll take care of both of them."
Although OSU lost their starting pitcher after only one third of an inning, the bullpen picked up the slack and completely shutdown the UTPA hitters. Led by reliever Cody King, the Cowboys sent UTPA home without many positives.
"We had to go to our bullpen a whole lot earlier than we had in mind, but our pen from that point on was pretty good," Holliday said.
As the story went in the first game, OSU's offense exploded with third baseman Josh Fields, first baseman John Urick and designated hitter Mario Matulich each launching a ball over the outfield wall.
"You set your mind to come out a score a bunch of runs in midweek games because we're not gonna have our top three or four guys on the mound," Holliday said. "It does make those guys pitch better when they have a bunch of runs to work with."
Because of the Cowboys' big lead, scoring 41 runs total for the two midweek games, the coaching staff was able to give its bench players rare opportunities to see action.
"We haven't had an opportunity to shuffle guys in and out much this year," said OSU hitting coach Robbie Wine. "The last two games, we get everybody in when it is a relaxed situation and it's not a pressure situation. That's when you see growth take place."