The Sooners fought off elimination on Thursday afternoon by coming back from a 5-0 deficit to Texas Tech with three runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings for a walk off 9-8 victory over the Red Raiders.
If nothing else, the game should be good for the paltry attendance at this year's Big 12 Tournament. Only 4,941 watched the Cowboys and Longhorns in their primetime Thursday night dual.
"Tough ballgame and I thought both teams pitched really well, but give credit to Texas because I thought their middle infielders really gobbled up baseball and made good plays," Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday said.
"Their second baseman is about as good as there is at making those plays. They had a clutch two-out hit in the second inning to get that run and then a good hit to get the two runs in the eighth. We played it tight all the way to their eighth and they got the two spot that gave them insurance."
The brisk game took just two hours and 33 minutes. It looked for a long time like it would be a 1-0 win. Texas scored in the second off Cowboys starter Jon Perrin when designated hitter Madison Carter singled to left-center field. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a ground out to Tanner Krietemeier at first base. He scored when Texas first baseman Kacy Clemens singled up the middle.
Perrin settled down and while he took the loss he finished pitching 6 1/3 innings allowing one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out four. He was very solid against a nationally ranked team and deserved better than seeing his record go to 7-4 on the season.
Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday talks about, good or bad, owning your performance, and Perrin did.
"My job is to throw up zeros and I didn't do that tonight," Perrin said. "I didn't have my best stuff early and we paid for it."
Defense bailed Perrin and the Cowboys out on two occasions as Tim Arakawa at second flagged down a Tres Barrera ground ball in the second and tagged out Mark Payton going to second before throwing out Barrera at first for the double play.
In the seventh, the inning Perrin was relieved, Alex Hackerott had come in and with two Longhorns on base, Payton hit a screamer down to first. Krietemeier dove toward his right and stopped the ball and then got up and beat Payton to first base for the out.
The Longhorns got two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning when a wild pitch and walks led to a situation where Clemens singled up the middle. Arakawa fielded it and kept it in the infield but could do nothing with it and two runners scored.
Texas head coach Augie Garrido threw two of his weekend starters in Dillon Peters and Parker French. Garrido, with an eye on a regional, has said he would keep a strict 100-pitch count and when his pitchers hit it then they are through for the tournament.
Peters went five innings and gave up just four hits, all singles, while striking out three and walking none. Parker French, the Texas Friday night starter most of the season, pitched four innings and allowed just one hit, a double into the left field corner by Big 12 Player of the Year Zach Fish. It was the only extra base hit of the game for the Pokes.
Now the Cowboys, shut out for just the third time this season, get ready for Oklahoma. The Cowboys were previously shutout on March 9 when San Diego got them 7-0 and then at Texas 3-0 in the series opener on April 25. The winning pitcher in that game was the Horns saver tonight, French. Peters got the win to go to 7-3.
Holliday just over 24 hours ago talked about how that was a lot of baseball against one team following the 13-4 win over OU on Wednesday. But on Thursday night he seemed ready for Bedlam again.
"It'll be fun," Holliday said sounding convincing. "This time of year you don't get a ton of days guaranteed to go out and play the game together and be with your team. Tomorrow night, seven o'clock against OU, awesome!
"I hope we have a good crowd. They've got a lot to play for and so do we. It's kind of like playing that pick-up game against your good friends. You know their moves and you wonder if they are going to show that same move or come up with something else."
Holliday said right-hander Tyler Buffett will get the start. Buffet pitched against OU last Friday in Tulsa and did not get the decision in the Cowboys walk-off 2-1 win in 10 innings. Buffett gave up just four hits and no runs in his seven innings of work. He walked one and struck out six Sooners.
Friday night should be real serious Bedlam with the winner moving on and the loser going home. If the Cowboys win their fifth over the Sooners this season then OU will be going home to pack up the equipment and be done for the season. The Cowboys have more baseball to play either way.