Holliday Tossed As OSU Falls In Bedlam Finale

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A baseball umpire never wants his call to decide the game. You want the players to decide the game, but as Oklahoma State was going for a sweep in the Bedlam series Sunday afternoon there were three crucial calls all made by home plate umpire and Big 12 veteran umpire Randy Wetzel as Oklahoma managed to win the third and final game 5-4.

The third call of the afternoon could have tied the game. With OU leading 5-4 in the top of the eighth, the Cowboys were scrambling. A wild pitch by Sooners pitcher Jacob Evans enabled OSU's Aaron Cornell who was trying to steal third base to round third with a chance to score.

The throw by retrieving OU catcher Anthony Hermelyn was in time but the question was whether the tag by Evans at the plate did the job. There were several opinions, including some from the TV booth and truck, that felt the tag was way behind and Cornell was safe.

Wetzel punched Cornell out to end the inning. Out charged Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday for the third time of the day. Holliday got his money's worth and more, and eventually Wetzel ran Holliday before the start of the bottom of the eighth inning. The Cowboys coach finished the Bedlam weekend watching frm the clubhouse, and he missed OU protecting its first lead of the weekend for a 5-4 salvage.

"You know that's baseball, and I'm not going to sit here and talk a lot about it," Holliday said of the calls and ejection. "You defend your team and then you move on. We'll look at the replays later. Randy (Wetzel) felt that he got them right and I respect Randy because he's a good umpire. That (being thrown out) is nothing that I stand for.

"They were bang bang plays and they made the plays, the throws and you defend yourself and your team," Holliday continued. "I'm not proud of getting thrown out of a ballgame. I didn't get ugly with Randy, I just told him you're going to have to throw me out now. I've been out here three times now and I could stand here and talk about it but you're going to have to throw me out. He agreed."

It did move OU back ahead of OSU in the Big 12 standings at 12-9 while the Cowboys drop to 11-9. OSU has played one less conference game due to a postponed game with Baylor that won't be made up.

The Cowboys are now 36-13 overall and will play at Wichita State on Tuesday night and then finish the Big 12 season hosting West Virginia on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Allie Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater.

After two straight 4-3 Oklahoma State wins there was no way game three was going to have the same score, although early on it looked like there was a chance.

The Cowboys started the scoring in the top of the second when third baseman Robbie Rea hit a screaming ground ball that just glanced the glove of OU shortstop Jack Mayfield.

One of the major Cowboy heroes of the weekend, Gage Green, who had the winning RBI on Friday night and stole home for the winning run on Saturday afternoon, hit a flair into left for a single and their were runners at first and second. OU starting pitcher Dillon Overton struck out designated hitter Aaron Cornell and then walked Cowboys catcher Victor Romero.

That left it up to backup shortstop Craig McConaughy. It was his first Big 12 start and came courtesy of a Randy McCurry's sore shoulder after being hit by a 98 miles per hour fastball from Sooner pitcher Jonathan Gray on Saturday. After fouling off two fastballs, clearly behind the pitches, the transfer from Navarro Junior College singled up the middle to plate two runs. A good start at 2-0 OSU.

"My first Bedlam series and it definitely lived up to it," McConaughy said. "He got me down 0-2 and kept throwing fast balls and I fouled them off. Then I took a pitch and he hung a slider and I capitalized on it and hit it back up the middle and then I tried not to stay high after it. It was a lot of fun getting those first two runs across."

"I'm really proud of Craig and when he has had his opportunities he has done an amazing job for our team," Holliday said of McConaughy. "We are only as strong as the guys on our team that are supporting us and providing that energy off the bench."

The Cowboys doubled their early lead in the top of the third inning and got creative doing it. After freshman second baseman Donnie Walton singled up the middle, Tanner Krietemeier made contact on a hit-and-run. With Walton moving to second, OU shortstop Mayfield was moving to second and Krietemeier's ground ball bounced right where Mayfield moved from for a single.

After Zach Fish flew out to right, Rea fought off five pitches from Overton spraying foul balls in every direction. He then hit a fly ball to the wall in left field for a sacrifice to score Walton. Before fans finished cheering that run, Gage Green surprised the Sooners when he pushed a bunt down the first base line, and Krietemeier slid in safely to make it 4-0 Cowboys.

"I thought our kids played good and they came out and handled a pretty good left-handed pitcher," Holliday added. "We executed well, the hit and run, the bunt for an RBI. I'm not disappointed in how we played or with our effort.

"You come out and play a conference series and win two out of three. I'm sure anybody would take two out of three in a sate rivalry series. We didn't play the last five innings today as well as we had the first two games in the series, and they did. I give the credit to OU, the way they played today. I'm proud of my kids though."

Oklahoma first launched a counter in the bottom of the fourth as a walk and a double off the bat of Max White had runners at second and third with one out when a wild pitch from Mark Robinette glanced off catcher Victor Romero's shin guard and dribbled into the OSU dugout. Craig Aikin came in from third for the first OU run.

Hector Lorenzana was golden all weekend for OU with five RBIs in the series entering Sunday's game, and his double office wall in left center made for another. Sooners designated hitter Kolbey Carpenter singled to right center to score Lorenzana and there was that familiar 4-3 Oklahoma State advantage. But there were too many innings left for the third game of the weekend to end with that score.

Oklahoma State had a chance to add to that advantage in the fifth with Fish on second after a walk and moving on a single by Rea, who was at first. One out at that point and Green drilled a single into right field as Fish rounded third he got the wave home from third base coach Marty Lees and arrived at the same time the throw did from OU right fielder Max White.

It was bang-bang play and your opinion of safe or out likely comes down to your favorite color, orange or crimson. Crimson got this one as Wetzel made the first of several curious calls with all going the way of Oklahoma.

Later, he would call back Green in the top of the eighth after he was hit by a Jacob Evans pitch on the right leg, but Wetzel claimed he deliberately allowed the ball to hit him. It was the second time Holliday was out to argue one of Wetzel's calls. The third time would be the charm.

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