Cowboys Run-Rule Wildcats

Oklahoma State entered Sunday's series finale at Kansas State with a one-game lead in the Big 12 standings thanks to rival Oklahoma's extra inning win over TCU on Saturday. That meant if the Cowboys could take game three against the Wildcats then they were guaranteed the Big 12 lead heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

Oklahoma State's amazing record of 33-0 when leading at the end of any inning during a game was never tested after the Cowboys opened up with a 4-0 advantage. In fact, the Pokes won their first run-rule shortened game in conference play 17-5.

The win moved their record to 16-5 in Big 12 play and 38-13 overall. It was the ninth win in a row for the Pokes and a 15-3 record in their last 18 games.

The lead blossomed in the second inning, a good way to put it on Mother's Day. Gage Green singled to left field to lead off the inning and then Zach Fish singled with a hit that was almost identical to Green's.

Second baseman Tim Arakawa laid down the bunt but K-State got the force at third. Dustin Williams stepped up as head coach Josh Holiday had listed Jon Perrin as the DH and made his decision on the fly as he often does, and Williams was the right choice with a long fly ball to left-center field that bounced off the wall for a double that scored Fish to make it 1-0.

After Craig McConaughy struck out, Bryan Case singled up the middle on the Tointon Family Stadium carpet and Arakawa and Williams both scored. The throw was late on Williams but the throw from the catcher down to second nailed Case trying to move up. Cowboys had that lead they crave and fare so well with at 3-0.

Oklahoma State expanded the lead on the Cats and starter Nate Griep when Saulyer Saxon blooped the ball behind second base and was able to beat it out for a hit. Donovan Walton dropped a single into right field to put runners at first and third. Tanner Krietemeier singled to right field and that scored Saxon.

After a Gage Green sacrifice bunt moved the runners over to second and third, Zach Fish spiked a hard ground ball down to Cats third baseman Carter Yagi and he alertly tried to tag Walton way off third toward home and missed but threw it to shortstop Austin Fisher for the tag. A Williams fly out ended an inning that could have been much bigger with OSU up 4-1.

Kansas State touched up Cowboys starter Tyler Nurdin in the bottom of the third for a run, but that was a drop in the bucket as far as what was about to happen to Kansas State. In the fourth, Tanner Krietemeier had an RBI single to score Walton, who had walked and then a two-RBI single by Fish made it 7-1 Cowboys.

Then in the fifth inning the Cowboys made sure of the series win with a nine-run inning that included a two-run double by Gage Green, a three-run home run to right-center field by the power-hitting Fish, and the second bomb to dead center field of the weekend for the freshman Dustin Williams.

Williams' round tripper was a two-run homer. In all, Oklahoma State sent 12 batters to the plate, there were six hits, and nine runs. The Cowboys led 16-1.

Kansas State ran Nurdin out of the game in the sixth with a four-run inning, but the Cowboys added a run in the top of the seventh and freshman Blake Battenfield closed out the game pitching as the shortened game gave the Cowboys a head start on the cold front as they drove home from Manhattan.

"Definitely proud of Nurdin's start and he gave us those five solid innings that you are looking for," Holliday said of the pitching. "It was definitely an offensive day with the wind and the warmth on that carpet and so I was glad to get out of here early. The winds were blowing 30 to 40 miles an hour and with the turf runs were easier to produce. We had to fight off that mindset that the game was over and finish the job and we did."

In the contest Nurdin got the win going 5.2 innings and allowing six hits and five runs. He walked two and struck out five Wildcats. Nurdin is now 4-3 on the season.

Zach Fish had a game-high five RBI with three hits and Gage Green also had three hits. Krietemeier, Williams, McConaughy, and Case all had two hits each.

The Cowboys head into the final week of the regular season having swept four three-game series this season over Big 12 foes West Virginia, Kansas, and Kansas State as well as non-conference foe Arizona State.

"I'm proud of our players as they took care of the challenge this weekend and now we need to move on for our next challenge with Oral Roberts coming in on Tuesday and the shortened time to our next conference series on Thursday," added Holliday. "I'm a little jealous with the three sellout crowds we played in front of up here and I hope on Tuesday our fans will come out and show our kids how proud they are of what they're doing."

The Cowboys game on Tuesday with Oral Roberts has a first pitch of 6:30 p.m., and the three games with Oklahoma begin with the one in Oklahoma City on Thursday and then the two night games in Tulsa on Friday and Saturday.

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