Cowboys Advance To Play Cal State Fullerton

STILLWATER - The day before the Stillwater Regional began the Big 12 Player of the Year for top seeded Oklahoma State talked about the strength of the Cowboys being different players rising up to make plays during the run to the Big 12 regular season title. Zach Fish has done a good portion of the work to earn All-America honors but a recent rising contributor has been catcher Bryan Case.

The junior college transfer from California hit two home runs and played really well behind the plate in the Big 12 Tournament. He's the visual definition of what Fish was describing. That's why from an offensive standpoint, despite already owning a 4-0 lead, Case led off the sixth inning with a solo home run down the left field line that was the signature moment for the 2,713 fans at Allie Reynolds for the return of regional baseball to Stillwater.

"That was the third slider that I saw from that pitcher," Case said of his at-bat leading to the home run. "My previous at-bat, I saw it come up, and then I saw it come up again and took a swing at it."

Case also walked twice in the game, and also scored another Cowboy run. Before the inning ended the Cowboys scored another run on a ground ball hit by Fish that Binghamton misplayed allowing #alton to score his second run of the game. OSU was in control 6-0 and went on to win 8-0 as Fish got the last two runs batted in on a double as deep as you can go in center field without actually hitting it out.

The cowboys go to 46-16 on the season and move on to face Cal State Fullerton Titans (33-22) in the winner's bracket game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The cowboys pitched five pitchers with Vince Wheeland getting the win to go 10-0 on the season. Freshman Tyler Buffett started and then Alex Hackerott, Blake Bettenfield and Thomas Hatch also saw the mound for the Pokes in their first game in the regional.

The good aspect of that is nobody pitched so much that they are anywhere close to being used up. Big 12 starter Jon Perrin is set to pitch for the Cowboys against the Titans.

After threatening in the first two innings, the Cowboys broke through in the bottom of the third when Case walked to open the frame off starter Jake Cryts of Binghamton. The lineup turned to the top and Saulyer Saxon bunted down the first base line to move Case over.

Donnie @alton sliced a single down the left field line to score case. Tanner Krietemeier hit a bloop single to right center but the next bloop off the bat of Gage Green was to second base and forced Krietemeier for the second out of the inning.

That is when Cryts really lost control as the bearded right hander threw one in the dirt that skirted past catcher Eddie Posavec to score @alton with the second Cowboys run. Fish drew a walk and the fourth ball, which was intentional, was throw over Posavec's head. That brought on a new pitcher and Cryts was done for the ball game giving up three hits and two runs in 2.2 innings. New pitcher Nicholas Liegi struck out tim Arakawa to end the third.

The Pokes added two runs in the bottom of the fifth when they loaded the bases with no out. Arakawa hit a sacrifice line drive to left and Krietemeier, who had walked, tagged up at third and scored his second run of the game. Conor Costello singled to left and that scored Green from second to make it 4-0 through five innings and solidify the OSU lead.

The Cowboys threatened in the bottom of the first when Walton found the gap in left field and the ball rolled to the warning track and Walton finished with a double. Krietemeier followed that up by earning a walk off Cryts. The threat was erased when Green lined to second, a good snag by Binghamton second baseman Daniel Navares, who doubled up walton at second.

Then in the bottom of the second Arakawa was hit by Cryts. He moved all the way over to third on a wild pitch, but with one out a fly out to second and a dramatic deep fly ball caught near the top of the wall by Binghamton left fielder Jake Thomas ended the inning.

The Bearcats made their first noise in the top of the third when shortstop John Howell led off with a single. Then with one out Zach Blanden hit a line drive single to center. after a strikeout, Daniel Navares drew a walk to load the bases but Cowboys starter Tyler Buffett struck out jake Thomas to end the inning.

In the top of the fifth, Binghamton ran Buffet out the game and third baseman Craig McConaughy made the defensive play of the game. With the bases loaded with two outs and ace reliever Vince Wheeland on to pitch, Shaun McGraw hit a "baltimore chopper" down to third base, and McConaughy bare handed the ball on the bounce and threw a fastball to get McGraw at first. It was the defensive play of the game.

"it was a momentum-changing play," veteran Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki said after the game. "It was a great job by [Wheeland] out of the bullpen, and maybe an even better job by [McConaughy]. it was a do-or-die play, the only play he could make in that situation, and he made a nice pick, gathered himself and made a great throw. He got Shaun by half of a step.

"We could have made it 2-1 at that point, but you need to make plays when you have to and they did. it was very significant for them."

"Craig is a great defender," shortstop Donnie Walton said. "He's made a lot of those plays, where guys are laying down bunts and he's bare handing everything. It was probably one of the better plays I've seen in my life. It's just Craig being Craig."

Walton had a few good defensive plays of his own on the night and also finished 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored.

"I thought a couple of key defensive plays, continued outstanding relief pitching and just kind of a grinding offensive effort probably defined that ball game for us," Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday summed up the win.

"We did a nice job of continuing to score and adjusting to the various looks that they provided on the mound. So, it was a good win. I'm glad to put that one in the books. We'll rest and get ready to come out tomorrow and face a Cal State Fullerton team that had an exciting game today."

The Cowboys face Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night, while Binghamton battles Nebraska at noon for the right to hang around until Sunday.

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