Cowboys Going For Big 12 Title

TULSA - Thanks to beating Oklahoma with their first opportunity on elimination Saturday with a well-pitched, well-defended and just enough offense from the players in the line-up with the initials D.W. (Donnie Walton and Dustin Williams) the Oklahoma State Cowboys have a chance to play Texas at noon Sunday for the Big 12 Tournament Championship.

Mother Nature may make that event very hard to squeeze in between the forecasted Memorial Day weekend monsoon. If the championship game can't be played by 11 p.m. Sunday the Cowboys win the Big 12 Championship by sitting because of their second-place finish in the regular season and because as the second seed they are the highest seeded team left with Texas being the fifth-seed.

"We want to play because it's special anytime you get to suit up and play for a championship, but under the rules, if we don't get to play, then we win the championship, right?" Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday confirmed after his press conference on Saturday.

He's right as that is what the Big 12 rules state and the rain coming down hard almost immediately after the Cowboys 5-1 win that eliminated Oklahoma at ONEOK Field was just the start of what the weathermen in the state are projecting to be a very wet 24 to 36 hours. Holliday confirmed also that his groundskeepers in Stillwater have borrowed a few extra tarps to cover all of the playing surface at Allie Reynolds Stadium in preparation for an NCAA Regional there next week.

"We did borrow a few tarps and we needed to cover the entire playing surface, even the grass in the outfield because it has had too much moisture," Holiday added.

With its fourth win over the Sooners this season, the 11th-ranked Cowboys improved to 37-17 and both the Pokes and the Longhorns advanced to the tourney’s championship game with 3-0 marks.

The "D.W. gang" was most of the offense for the Cowboys on Saturday as Dustin Williams collected three of OSU’s six hits and hitting just ahead of him in the order and with two singles Donnie Walton made it five of the six hits in the three and four spots in the order. Williams was the finisher of the pair going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple and driving in two runs.

"It's a lot of fun. It's a good thing to have Dustin (Williams) behind me," Walton said. "All throughout the lineup we have total trust in our guys and Dustin had a great day today. He saw the ball well, his approach was good. I'm just glad I could be there to get the run in."

"Whenever Donnie is getting on base as much as he does, it's really nice, it's protection because I know I'm going to get a pitch to hit because they know they can't afford to make mistakes," Williams added. "I was just trying to square the ball up and let the guys behind me do their jobs at well."

Williams was obviously seeing the ball well as he pushed a couple of his drives deep into the gap and had the Sooners outfielders on the run trying to minimize the damage. Williams double allowed him to score the first Oklahoma State run in a two-run second inning as he came home on a Corey Copping wild pitch. Then in the sixth Williams drilled a double in the right field gap to score Walton, who had singled just ahead of him.

In the eighth it was a triple to the deepest part of the ONEOK outfield that chased Walton home with the first of two runs to complete the 5-1 win.

Jon Perrin picked up the win on the mound on his 22nd birthday to improve to 6-4 on the season. He seemed the sharpest he had been recently as he allowed just one run on seven hits in his six innings of work and he struck out four Sooners while only allowing one free pass.

"Jon (Perrin) pitched a really good game against a tough lineup – he gave us six quality innings and gave us the stability to score a few runs," said Holliday. "We weren’t great on offense, but Dustin (Williams) and Donovan (Walton) had some big swings of the bat that created as much offense as we were able to put together. Not a great day on offense, in terms of the conditions or output, but I thought we did enough and did it kind of when we needed to."

"I love runs, nobody is going to complain about run support," Perrin added. "It's awesome. Pitching with the lead is definitely a good thing. As pitchers we're able to settle down in to that groove, know that we're going to make pitches and were not worried about giving up hits. I think they sprinkled seven singles across the board today. I'm not really worried about it. We have a great defense, a couple of double plays got turned today. They're doing it on both ends. They're scoring runs and playing great defense so it makes my job a lot easier."

After Perrin worked six innings and allowed one run on seven hits while striking out four, the Cowboys turned to three relievers – Tyler Nurdin, Remey Reed and Koda Glover, who each worked one scoreless frame to seal the win.

The Pokes now eye their second Big 12 Championship tourney title in program history. They Cowboys won the trophy in 2004. A year ago, Holliday’s club lost to TCU in the tourney final.

"It sets up great," Holliday said. "You never complain about a chance to play for a championship, and you never complain about an opportunity to stay together and continue to play. We’re aware that each day we are wearing our uniform together is meaningful, especially this time of year where you’re not simply guaranteed to do this forever. Oklahoma State vs. Texas – it has a good sound to it."

Sunday at noon, weather permitting.


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