Cowboys Blow Late Lead To TCU

OKLAHOMA CITY - The first game of the Big 12 Tournament was a rematch of a 2-0 pitcher's duel earlier in the season between Jason Hursh and TCU's Preston Morrison. This time it looked like an Oklahoma State win as the Cowboys carried a 4-2 lead to the ninth inning only to see the bullpen stumble as TCU rallied for an 8-4 victory with six runs in the top of the ninth.

The blame could be placed on a long day waiting to play after the first day of the Big 12 Tournament was three and a half hours late in starting due to heavy thunderstorms rolling through Oklahoma City and the surrounding area.

The first three games -- OU's 2-0 win over Baylor, Kansas State's 4-3 win over Texas Tech, and the 7-2 win by Kansas over West Virginia -- did move fast and sped things up to where the Cowboys and TCU started at 9:10 p.m., just an hour and 40 minutes later than scheduled.

The game began with a slow pace as both pitchers were taking their time and having some trouble finding the zone. The Cowboys defense didn't help out either as they committed three errors in the first four innings resulting in an unearned run for the Frogs.

The Cowboys had pushed four runs across in the bottom of the second inning. Much like their regular season series with TCU in Fort Worth, Oklahoma State left two runners on in the first inning after Saulyer Saxon had lead off with a double down the left field line off Morrison.

Then in the second, the Cowboys unlocked the secret to scoring runs on Morrison. Robbie Rea had a rather unique fly ball double that Frogs right fielder Brett Johnson couldn't get to. After Aaron Cornell flew out to left for the second out, designated hitter Jarrett Higgins drew a walk, Saxon singled, and then Donnie Walton drove a line drive single into left field to score the first two runs in Rea and Higgins.

Amazingly, TCU center fielder Cody Jones was playing way too shallow on Tanner Krietemeier, who blasted the ball over his head to deep center for a double to plate Saxon and Walton for a 4-0 Oklahoma State lead.

That equaled the Cowboys winning run total in the middle game of their regular season series with the Frogs, their only win in the series back in April.

In the fourth inning the Cowboys ran Morrison out of the game with another two-out threat. An error on the throw by shortstop Keaton Jones allowed Saxon to get on and go to second. Morrison balked moving Saxon to third and then walked Walton on a full count and that was the end of the night for the TCU ace. Reliever Trevor Seidenberger came on to strike out Krietemeier to end the fourth.

The Horned Frogs scored a run in the third and then singles by catcher Kyle Bacak and left fielder Boomer White in the fifth made it 4-2.

Each team had a threat or two the rest of the way, but Seidenberger was solid. After a short stint by Jon Perrin, Vince Wheeland pitched like the All-Big 12 reliever he is by eating up two and two-third innings before getting in trouble with a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with one out in the top of the ninth.

OSU closer Brendan McCurry came on but allowed Derek Odell to bloop a single to right-center scoring two runs. MCCurry then launched a wild pitch that moved the runners up to second and third. That forced the Cowboys to intentionally walk Kevin Corn to again load the bases.

The disaster inning then went all the way to give TCU the lead when McCurry hit Keaton Jones to force in the lead. Nine-hole hitter Brett Johnson would finish the job with a single just over second baseman Donnie Walton's outstretched arm to score two more. By the time Walton threw to first for the final out the Frogs had scored six and taken a late command.

The Cowboys now get ready for Kansas at 7:30 p.m. Friday as they try for a second time to avenge an opponent that beat them in a Big 12 regular season series.

Oklahoma State falls to 39-15 on the season and the Cowboys are still looking for that magic 40th win which is always considered an important number. Kansas is 32-24 after beating West Virginia on Thursday 7-2.

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