Cowboys Rally To Advance

OKLAHOMA CITY - It took Oklahoma State about an hour and a half to wake up and smell the grass, the popcorn, and hot dogs at the Phillips Big 12 Tournament. But the Cowboys finally woke up after Wednesday's 9 a.m. start time to rally from a 2-0 deficit to break up Logan Verrett's no-hitter and go on to a 6-2 win over Baylor to move into a Thursday winner's game against eighth-seeded Missouri.

The lack of surprise is that Texas often comes to Oklahoma City and the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament disinterested and just wanting to go home and prepare for hosting an NCAA Regional.

Like Texas, Oklahoma State is expected to be playing in the NCAA Tournament next week, but Baylor has to be close to the bubble with a good RPI but a 29-24 record.

The Bears came used a leadoff triple by Chris Slater in the top of the third and an RBI double by the next hitter Max Muncy to take the early lead. A couple of hitters later Joey Hainsfurther singled home Muncy for a 2-0 lead to run OSU starter Mike Strong, who only last 2 2/3 innings after recording 16 strikeouts less than two weeks ago against Baylor in Stillwater.

Hunter Herrera come out of the leftfield bullpen and steadied the ship for Oklahoma State, and then in the sixth inning the Cowboys strung together one of those less than spectacular but resourceful innings at the plate that you need to win in postseason baseball.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Zach Johnson broke up Verrett's no-hitter with a single to left, Davis Duren worked a walk, Luis Uribe singled to center, All-Big 12 DH Dane Phillips singled on a ball that just got by everybody, and then Gabe Weidenaar did the same on the right side.

The Cowboys and Bears were tied at 2-2 and bases were still loaded after Mark Ginther struck out. Here comes shortstop Hunter Bailey, arguably the hottest hitter for average the last month after hitting below .200 the first half of the season. Bailey hits a ground ball that is booted by Baylor second baseman Steve Dal Porto allowing two more OSU runs to come home.

"Verrett is very tough and I think we went 15 innings without scoring on the guy, something like that," OSU head coach Frank Anderson said. "Zach (Johnson) finally gets a hit for us and gets things going. We were fortunate to hit some balls enough away from them that we were able to score. It's huge. I don't know if we did much demolition."

The Cowboys led 4-2 going to the bottom of the eighth when Mark Ginther did do some demolition as he pounded a two-run home run well into the bleachers in left field off Bears reliever Trent Blank.

The 6-2 advantage came into play as Baylor loaded the bases against a tiring Herrera in the top of the ninth only to have Weidenaar come on in relief and put the fire out with a pop out to short and then sawing off the Bears Dan Evatt at the plate for a weak ground ball to first to end the game.

"You can't get fisted on a 2-0 fastball, bases loaded, down by four," Baylor head coach Steve Smith said in frustration after the game. "That ball is not a strike. It can't be a strike to hit it like that, so that's right up there (on the reasons Baylor lost)."

"Hunter (Herrera) gave us some stability and allowed us to get deep in the game," Anderson summed up. "Mark's (Ginther) home run was huge to separate us right there. We didn't have to use (Chris) Marlowe late. You can second guess a little bit, tight there at the end. I thought about bringing him in, but I wanted to hold off a little bit if we could with that lead and fortunately it worked out."

Anderson said he knows the score for Thursday. Missouri is desperate as the Tigers are the one team in Oklahoma City that knows the only way they play in a regional next week is if they win the Big 12 Tournament.

The Cowboys swept the Tigers in the regular season in Stillwater but the scores of the three games were 3-2, 4-1, and 7-3.


GoPokes Top Stories