OU pitching on target against Cowboys

With nearly the worst pitching staff in the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma took it to one of the best offense linueps in the league.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Sooners stole the Bedlam Series — a series that was Oklahoma State's to lose — via solid pitching performances.
 
OU only used six pitchers the entire weekend, starting Friday night with a complete-game loss by starter Mark Roberts.

"I didn't feel like I got tired. I felt like my fast ball was still live in the later half of the game," Roberts said. "I felt like I threw good this game, but we just came up short."
 
The Cowboys fought hard to get their eight runs and win against Roberts.
 
"He is a real good pitcher, and I thought he did good tonight, he kept us on our toes," OSU coach Tom Holliday said. "When you have a guy on the mound like Roberts, you get somebody who doesn't give up and keeps going at you in the sixth like it is still the second. He's a smart guy; we just figured him out."
 
Roberts' eight strikeouts and five earned runs, despite the losing effort, carried over the rest of the series. Saturday night in Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City OU junior righthander Casey Brown netted the first win for Oklahoma in the series, and only their third Big 12 victory of the season.
 
"I was a little off today, but we got the win and that's all that's important," Brown said Saturday. "I just kept fightin, throwin strikes."
 
After giving up two runs in the first, Brown finished with only four earned runs in five innings.
 
"He was making good pitches," said OSU centerfielder Jose Virgil. "I think once he settled down he hit the corners."
 
Sophomore David Purcey relieved Brown for three quality innings, striking out four, including Virgil who had a home run, a double and three RBI against Brown.
 
"I thought Percy was good," said OU coach Larry Cochell. "He was gettin up there with a little getty-up."
 
The save Saturday, in front of 11,200 fans, went to sophomore reliever and Stillwater native Jarod McAuliff who pitched a flawless ninth inning to the heart of the Cowboy lineup.
 
"You've got to give credit to the people that make quality pitches," Holliday said of the Sooner pitching staff.
 
Sunday, OU continued their dominance on the mound despite less-than-average Big 12 statistics by their pitchers. OU junior Buddy Blair started for the Sooners and gave up only three runs in 5.2 innings despite an ERA of more than nine coming into the game.
 
McAuliff returned to the mound for the second-straight day after Blair sat down, and he remained golden giving up only one earned run.
 
"Buddy gave us a quality start," Cochell said. "McAuliff came in and gave us what we wanted, then Mike (Swindell) came in and closed the door."
 
Swindell entered the game with an ERA of nine and, in only 22 innings, had given up 40 hits. However, he forced Virgil to fly out to right field in the final inning, ending a potential comeback surge by the Cowboys and leaving OSU rightfielder Lindsey Simmons stranded at second base.
 
"I think he (Swindell) pitched well," Cochell said. "He pitched well his last outing, but he pitched much better than we thought."
 
Overall, the Cowboy offense that earlier in the season seemed to find their niche, connected for only 13 runs in the three-game series.


 


From OSUInsider.com Staff Reports


OKLAHOMA CITY -- All good beginnings must come to an end.
 
And, after getting a jump on Oklahoma in the opening game of the Bedlam series, Oklahoma State's party was busted.
 
Following Friday's 8-3 win over the Sooners, the Cowboys (28-15, 10-8 Big 12) lost two-consecutive games to in-state rival Oklahoma (16-24, 4-14 Big 12) at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, falling 4-7 Saturday and 6-5 Sunday.
 
Oklahoma has struggled most of the season, settling into the cellar of the Big 12 standings, and OU coach Larry Cochell said it isn't too late for his team to make a run at the Big 12 Conference Tournament.
 
"I think it does a lot for us, and I think that we can build on this," Cochell said. "If we revert back to what we've been, we're going to be in trouble, but I think we got a taste of what feels like to win. It's been so long, we can't remember."
 
OSU starting pitcher Joe Weaver mystified the Sooner lineup until allowing back-to-back singles by leftfielder Brandon Jones and shortstop Denver Kitch. With runners in the corners, Weaver walked the next batter, setting up a Eddie Cornejo base hit that produced the first two runs of the game.
 
In the fifth, lefty Shane Hawk got the call from the bullpen to relieve Weaver. Facing Sooner catcher Spencer Wyman, who is hitting merely .103 in Big 12 play, Hawk delivered the first pitch — which Wyman proceeded to jack out of the park and put the Sooners up by four, 5-1.
 
Holliday said if he was faced with the same two-out situation in the future, he would make the same decision.
 
"I was thinkin' about a three-pitch strikeout," he said. "Lefty on lefty, the best left hand pitcher I have. Wyman just defeated the odds, beat the book."
 
The Cowboys were able to saw away at the crimson lead in the sixth on a lead-off double by shortstop Chris Gutierrez. After fouling off five-straight pitches, Josh Fields won the battle in the box, sending a sacrifice-fly sailing into right field, and scoring Gutierrez. With the bases clear, first baseman John Urick, who hit an uncharacteristic .182 in the three-game series, blasted a solo shot over the center field wall. By the end of the sixth, the Sooner lead narrowed to 5-3.
 
Perhaps the turning point in the game came in the bottom of the eighth, when Gutierrez was hit by OU reliever Jarod McAuliff, and Jose Virgil came up to the plate knocking a fastball to the right field corner. Gutierrez moved to third, and Virgil rounded first and attempted to slide into second for the double.
As the throw reached the bag, Virgil took to the dirt, but over slid the bag and was tagged out.
 
"When somebody plays the game as aggressively as Jose Virgil plays, and that happens, it's just one of those little heartaches that goes into a ballgame," Holliday said. "It was big certainly."
 
The Virgil miscue proved costly, as Fields hit a sac-fly to score Gutierrez, and with Urick on first, catcher Jason Jaramillo (7-of-12 in the series) notched a single that would have scored Virgil. The Cowboys weren't able to even the game, but moved within a run of the Sooners.
 
The series didn't come and go without the usual Bedlam drama, complete with two  controversial plays at the plate by home plate umpire Bill Davis.
 
In the top of the ninth, Jaramillo fielded what he thought was a bunt, converted it into a double-play, but the ball was later called foul by Davis.
 
A heated conversation ensued with Holliday, and with one out, the Sooners scored on the next argumentative call.
 
"I just thought the call was slow," Holliday said. "If you want to take the emotion out of the call, sell it. Throw your hands in the air immediately — but don't wait to see that we turned a double play and then have an impact on the ballgame.  It was obviously a big play."
 
The knife in OSU's heart came when OU centerfielder Reggie Willits hit a single to right field, Lyndsey Simmons came up throwing and the play at the plate was close, but Davis called the Sooner runner safe, much to the dismay of Jaramillo and Holliday.
 
With a 6-4 Sooner lead, the Cowboys struck back in their last chance with the bats. Scott Kirby led off with a double and scored on a Simmons RBI single.
 
But, with two outs and one run down, Virgil sent ball to the warning track, and right into the glove of the OU rightfielder.
 
"We've been doing that all year long. This ball club doesn't roll over under any circumstances," Holliday said. "When you play great defense and get some timely pitching anybody can beat anybody. They played very good baseball, and they deserve to win that ballgame."
 
Cochell said the Cowboys have a potent offense, but the close win is one he will take proudly.
 
"We're gettin out of here by a whisker, but a whisker's good enough today," Cochell said.


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