Triple The Pleasure: Cowboys Defeat Titans

STILLWATER - It was billed as a showdown between one of the best offensive lineups in college baseball and one of the top pitching staffs with Oklahoma State scoring a lot of runs and Cal State Fullerton holding a team ERA of 2.03. There were 3,248 that showed up Saturday night at Allie Reynolds for the winner's game on day two of the Stillwater Regional between the top seed and the third seed.

Offense won out but before the bats really heated up there was a huge defensive highlight. In the end, the Cowboys downed the Titans 13-7 to move on unbeaten in the regional.

You know things are going your way when you get a triple play. The Cowboys turned the trick in the bottom of the third inning with Titans at first and second.

Cal State Fullerton shortstop Keegan Dale hits a line drive back at pitcher Jon Perrin, who flagged it down and then turned and fired to Donnie Walton at second where Timmy Richards had left from and gone all them way to third on the hit and run. Walton fired to Tanner Krietemeier at first for the third out as the Titans Clay Williamson was caught in no mans land.

It was the first triple play for the Cowboys since performing the trick against Alabama A&M in the 2012 season.

"That was the first one of my career, I've never been involved in one before," Perrin said after the game and his near seven innings of effort. "I heard someone yell, 'runners,' so I knew they were on the move, but when I turned around and saw where they were... It was so easy and that was a freaky play."

The Cowboys pulled a two-out rally out of their black caps in the top,of the third inning. Catcher Bryan Case, one of the heroes of late, started it with a double to the gap in right center. Then with the lineup turned over lead off man Saulyer Saxon hit a slow roller up the middle of the infield that went down as a single.

Then Walton ripped a line drive single to right field to score Case from third. Tanner Krietemeier followed that up with another rip off Titans right-handed starter Justin Garza. The double down the left field line was chased over to the line and scored both Saxon and Walton.

Oklahoma State led 3-0. The Cowboys would preserve that early advantage in the bottom half of the inning with that rare defensive gem known as the triple play.

The Titans scored a run in the bottom of the fourth when J.D. Davis doubled to right and then scored on a single by first baseman Tanner Pinkston. But the Cowboys had a big answer in the next frame.

The fifth started with Saxon really working a rare walk by Fullerton and then he moved to second on the sacrifice bunt by Walton. Krietemeier singled to right and then Gage Green busted a line drive that went to the wall in right, and Green spun around the bases for his second triple of the season and two runs batted in. The Pokes led 5-1.

"I got behind in the count and I was just looking for something to hit and he hung a slider up there and I got a hold of it pretty good," Green said. "I was a little excited when I saw him waving me on to third, so I got down there and slid in. It was a long game but a fun game."

Green scored to make it 6-1 on a deep sacrifice fly to center field.

The Cowboys weren't through as Willie Kuhl had come on to relieve starter Justin Garza. After Tim Arakawa singled to left and Conor Costello walked, Craig McConaughy hit a long fly that Titans left fielder Austin Diemer tried to catch off the top of the wall but could not. McConaughy had a double and the Cowboys had two more runs to lead 8-1 after the fifth.

The Cowboys added another run in the sixth when Saxon scored on a Krietemeier double. In the bottom half of the frame, Austin Diemer and Jarod Deacon had back-to-back RBI singles. After Perrin hit pinch hitter Jake Jeffries to load the bases he got a visit from pitching coach Rob Walton, and he got Clay Williamson to pop out just past third base for the final out and the end of the threat.

If the Titans thought there was any chance they were going to come back all the way those hopes were stomped on in the top of the seventh when Arakawa drew a lead-off walk and Costello plowed his eighth home run of the season over the wall in left center. The two-run shot made it 11-3 Cowboys.

This game was still a slow death for Fullerton and a lot of it on their own account as they took plenty of time on the mound and at the plate. The Titans used six pitchers and actually had their biggest offensive output in the seventh inning with three runs, but again, the Cowboys countered with a run in the top of huge eighth to keep holding the Titans at bay in what became a marathon night of baseball.

It continued with more runs in the bottom of the seventh and the top of the ninth too. The two teams evenly split 30 hits. The game ended after four hours, 20 minutes with OSU closer Brendan McCurry striking out the side in his only inning of work.

Cal State Fullerton drops to 33-23 and will need to beat Nebraska a second time to stay in Stillwater. OSU goes to 47-16 on the season and moves into the regional championship game Sunday, and the team that survives to join them will need to win that game and another scheduled for Monday.

"This is where you want to be, in that Sunday game when you get started and we still have a lot of arms to start and in the bullpen," Green said afterwards. "I really like the way we've played and the position we've put ourselves in."

One win for the Cowboys and they will be the regional champs and move on to the Super Regional.

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