Loss to OU 'Sooner' than later for Pokes

Oklahoma comes up with timely hits, scoring four of its seven runs with two outs on the board. OSU starter Spencer Grogan struggled; Holliday saves star relievers Shane Hawk and Daniel Rew for Sunday's game.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma State started the second game of the Bedlam Baseball Series Saturday night much like the first, keeping Oklahoma off the board in the first inning and jumping out to an early lead in the bottom half.


But from that moment forward, the OU pitching staff, led by starter Casey Brown, stunted the Cowboy offense in a series-tying 7-4 win for the Sooners.


"I was a little off today, but we got the win and that's all that's important," Brown said. "I just kept fightin, throwin strikes."

Brown's pitching even threw Cowboys leading hitter, centerfielder Jose Virgil, for a strikeout.


"He was making good pitches, I think once he settled down he hit the corners,"  Virgil said.


Virgil jumped the Cowboys to a 3-1 lead early with a  two-run homer in bottom of the first and an RBI double off the right field wall, but, unlike the night before, the Sooners responded.


"We finally got some hits," Brown said. "Guys just fought all night long and hopefully we can take that into tomorrow."


The Cowboys relinquished the lead in the top of the fifth on a two-out base hit by OU first baseman Matt Bose, something OSU struggled with Saturday.


"They did a good job of putting the ball in play, especially with two strikes," Virgil said.


After Cowboy starter Spencer Grogan threw 105 pitches and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings, OSU coach Tom Holliday decided to bypass star relievers Shane Hawk and Daniel Rew for junior Cody King and freshman Thomas Cowley.


The two unexpected relievers stopped the bleeding defensively, allowing no earned runs the remainder of the game and showing promise for the future despite the loss.


"I got a freshman out here the last two innings," Holliday said. "The way my pitching staff's shaping up, we became a better ballclub tonight, and that's important to me."


With Holliday fielding an inexperienced team for the most part, the chance to play in front of 11,000 fans in a minor league ballpark was also a plus.


"It's great to have this kind of a crowd," Holliday said. "A lot of my guys have never seen this. I've got 15 or 16 new people that needed this, and I really like the way they've responded."


However, the Cowboy offense didn't respond from the sixth inning forward as they couldn't manage to send a base runner home, stranding four potential runs.


"We had lots of opportunities to score; plenty of runners on base," Virgil said. "But unlike last night we didn't get the two out base hits."


OU relievers David Percy and Stillwater native Jarod McAuliff gave up no runs and a total of two hits in those final frames.

"I thought Percy was good," said Sooner coach Larry Cochell. "He was gettin up there with a little getty-up."


The bottom of the eighth looked like the OSU rally inning as pinch hitter Brian Kraft sent the second pitch rolling to right field for a base hit. Rightfielder followed that with a base hit lined to center field, but the next two batters hit into outs.


The loss hurts the Cowboys chances for the Big 12 regular season lead, but for the Sooners it was a big confidence boost.


It's been a long time comin and it couldn't have come at a better time," Cochell said. "They deserve it and they came ready to play tonight."


The final game of the series begins at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.


"Tomorrow's game is huge for us to win the series, and the potential of maybe winnin the conference," Virgil said.


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