Cowboys Now Play The Waiting Game

OKLAHOMA CITY - There are two sides to the coin for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys head back to Stillwater to wait to find out what they will be doing next weekend. There's heads as in they will be heading out to play in an NCAA Regional. But there is also tails, as in they might be sitting on theirs next week if the committee weighs too much on this weekend's performance in the Big 12 Tournament.

Entering the Big 12 Tournament at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the second seed in the event and the pick to survive pool two and play on Sunday for the championship, Oklahoma State found ways to lose three leads in three games and finish winless.

Their Big 12 experience finished in the 10th inning on Saturday evening when West Virginia speedster Bobby Boyd to score on a seeing-eye ground ball by former Tulsa Union star Jacob Rice that went through the hole between the Cowboys first baseman Tanner Krietemeier and second baseman Donnie Walton.

Right fielder Zach Fish charged it, scooped the ball, and unloaded a strong throw to home that Boyd just beat from second by an eyelash. The call was safe at the plate and West Virginia stayed alive, hoping that TCU beat Kansas in the last game that would allow the Mountaineers to take a crack at 3-0 Oklahoma for an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

The Cowboys had built a 5-0 lead in the game that started in the first with a two-run homer that roped into the leftfield bleachers off the bat of Randy McCurry. The Cowboys added two more runs in the top of the sixth to make it 5-0.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, starter Mark Robinette, who had pitched really well, couldn't collect the third out and gave up five runs. A two-run homer by Ryan McBroom pulled the Mountaineers within 5-4, and then with an 0-2 count Brady Wilson clocked a solo homer just inside the left field foul pole and it was 5-5.

"I thought we came out and Mark Robinette gave us a very good start. Offensively, we were in a position several times to put a few runs on the board and had a few chances to add to it," Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday said in postgame.

"Give West Virginia credit for their sixth inning. They had a good rally and put a couple of really good swings on some pitches. The biggest play might have been the two-out bunt that extended the inning. I give them credit.

"We battled back and had our opportunities in the final four innings to make a run back at them but we were unable to. It was a tough ball game, but it was well-played on both sides," said Holliday.

The Cowboys had countless opportunities from that point on but could not produce as the last good chance ended when Donnie Walton hit into a bases loaded double play in the top of the eighth.

Oklahoma State blew a 4-2 ninth inning lead to TCU on Thursday and also blew a lead late on Friday to Kansas.

OSU's RPI is now floating dangerously at 50 and above. Remember, not only did the Cowboys not go to Oklahoma City needing just one win get to that magic 40-win total, but they also are at 38-17 in the eyes of the committee with one win coming against Southeastern Oklahoma State, a non-Division I foe.

Holliday, looking dejected, which he normally is able to avoid, was asked what his team could take from the winless experience in the Big 12 Tournament.

"Probably more than anything is the type of baseball it takes to win with a championship on the line and the type of baseball that postseason play demands because of the will of everybody participating," he said.

"Several of these ball games were very close and went all the way down to the ninth inning. Teams in deficits were able to fight back, and I know we led in all three of our games. No one is ever going to roll over, you have to continue to execute at a higher level from start to finish. One pitch or one play can change the complexion of the entire game, which we learned during the span of these three games."

The Cowboys will not be hosting a regional in Stillwater when those are announced on Sunday, and now you have to hope the entire body of work this season is seen clearly by the committee and that Oklahoma State doesn't pay somehow for a lack of Big 12 respect.

"We still feel really good about our chances. We feel good about where we are at and what we are trying to do," added senior shortstop Randy McCurry. "We still have things to get better at obviously, but we still feel really good about where we are."

Remember, OSU won the series with OU and Kansas State, which both now appear to be locks. Hopefully, in that hotel suite in Indianapolis, the Cowboys are a lock too.

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