Fish, Cowboys Sink Sooners

OKLAHOMA CITY - Just in case anyone was wondering, in a conference full of deserving players with similar offensive numbers, the Big 12 coaches got it right in selecting Oklahoma State's Zach Fish as Player of the Year. The OSU junior made it very clear that the coaches got it right on Wednesday afternoon in a sixth edition of a Bedlam at the Big 12 Tournament.

The junior designated hitter from Kalamazoo, Mich., went 2-for-4 with a grand slam home run and a Big 12 Tournament tying record six RBI. Fish was one of several power sources for the Cowboys in a 13-4 advancing win over the Sooners.

The top seed and seventh-ranked Cowboys trailed Oklahoma 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Donnie Walton slapped a ball to third and reached on an error. Tanner Kreitemeier hit a solid single to left field and then with two on and no outs catcher Gage Green, another All-Big 12 selection, laid down the perfect bunt caressing the third base line and beat the throw to first for a base hit.

Bases loaded for Fish for the second time in the game and he took care of business with a solid single down the left-field line to tie the game at 3-3. Tim Arakawa followed with a single to right for another run as Krietemeier scored.

After Conor Costello struck out for the first out of the inning, Craig McConaughy singled with a line drive to right scoring the third run of the inning. Aaron Cornell hit into a double play to end the frame. Oklahoma State led 5-3.

That inning was part of a critical swing of moments that started for the Cowboys on the pitching mound and playing defense.

The decision by Big 12 Coach of the Year Josh Holliday and his very valuable pitching coach Rob Walton to start Tyler Nurdin paid off against the Sooners.

Nurdin struggled allowing the three OU runs in the top of the first, but after the scuffling start that included four hits and a walk that led to that early lead, he settled down and went 4 2/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen and standout Vince Wheeland. Wheeland came in and struck out the Sooners Kolby Carpenter to end a bases loaded threat that Nurdin had left him. That was moment number one.

In moment number two, Wheeland would be happy with the run support he received almost immediately in the bottom of the fifth and then it got even better. In the sixth, with Walton reaching on a one-out single, Krietemeier drew a walk, and Green singled down the left-field line to load the bases.

Fish came to the plate with the bases loaded again against OU pitcher Robert Tasin, who delivered a pitch that the powerful Cowboys hitter crushed over the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark sign in left field.

The grand slam homer made it 9-3 and that would be all the Pokes would need. For Fish it was home run number 11 on the season and his six RBI put him at 44 for the campaign. The Pokes would add two more runs in the sixth inning to go up 11-3.

Oklahoma State would add a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to counter an OU run in the seventh. One of the insurance runs came on another Cowboys blast, the sixth home run of the season for Conor Costello.

Wheeland, who was also first team All-Big 12, got the win to go 9-0 He allowed one unearned run in his 4 1/3 innings pitched. Jeffrey Curran got the loss for Oklahoma as he was the pitcher in there for the fifth inning and he gave up the lead run among the five hits and three runs he allowed.

Besides Fish's big game, Walton was 3-for-5 with three runs scored, Krietemeier was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, Gage Green was 3-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI, and McConaughy was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Oklahoma State now prepares for the late game in the winner's side of the bracket on Thursday. The Cowboys will meet the winner of Wednesday's late, late start between Texas Tech and Texas.

The Cowboys are now 42-14 on the season. Honestly, with the NCAA Baseball Committee meeting in Indianapolis to put together the tournament field, you would think that Wednesday night's victory and Thursday night's game would seriously be added to the resume. If so, maybe the Cowboys can get a national seed. Thursday night's game will likely be the last chance to influence the committee.

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