Cowboys Looking Ahead To Regional Play

TULSA - Oklahoma State was playing for a championship but Texas was playing for the season to live on with an automatic NCAA bid going to the winner of the Big 12 Tournament. Texas took a page out of the Cowboys success this season by gladly accepting and then maximizing several eighth-inning gifts to win 6-3 in a rain-soaked finale in the Big 12 Tournament at ONEOK Field.

The Cowboys took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning. Tim Arakawa led off with a walk in the bottom of the seventh and then scored following Garrett McCain being hit by a pitch in the bill of his batting helmet that cause a cut on the outside of his left eye and several stitches to stop the bleeding.

Ryan Sluder sacrificed the runners over and then Arakawa scored on a Bryan Case roller in the infield grass that Texas shortstop C.J. Hinojosa scooped up and threw to first base to get Case as Arakawa with the jump scored.

In the top of the eighth, the inning started with Cowboys reliable shortstop Donnie Walton missing on a high bouncer by Texas leadoff hitter Ben Johnson. The ball just skipped over the top of Walton's glove.

Joe Baker sacrificed Johnson to second, but then A.J. Hinojosa's line drive was misjudged by Cowboys third baseman Jacob Chappell. A run scored on Tres Barrera's attempted sacrifice bunt that was mishandled for the third error and a run scored. Then after Collin Shaw drew a walk, Zane Gurwitz drilled a two-RBI single down the right field line. The Horns plated another run on a single and led 6-2.

In the bottom of the eighth the Cowboys loaded the bases with a single by Gage Green, who was 2-for-4, an error that allowed Corey Hassel to reach, and then a single by Donnie Walton, who also went 2-for-4 in the game. Green scored on Dustin Williams's bloop single to center but a strikeout and a double play ball ended the threat.

The Cowboys went quietly, in order, in the ninth.

With the loss, OSU is 37-18 on the season and will now await its NCAA Tournament fate, with the field of 64 being announced at 11 a.m. Monday. The 16 NCAA Regional host sites will be announced tonight at 7:30.

"Congratulations to Texas. From the time we got here on Tuesday to the very end, I thought we were in a really good spot as a ball club," Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday said after the game. "That’s just baseball. Sometimes those innings of back-and-forth like that, that’s just part of the game…

"I’m very proud of our team," Holliday continued. "This tournament was very good for us. There were a number of good outings up and down the staff. We’re disappointed that we didn’t win that game but excited that we’ll have the opportunity to play next week."

The game’s first six innings produced little in the way of scoring for either team. Texas took the game’s first lead in the third inning on a two-out RBI single by Hinojosa, and the score remained 1-0 until the sixth.

In the bottom of that inning, Jacob Chappell drew a leadoff walk for the Cowboys and Green followed with an infield single. Up next, Corey Hassel brought home Chappell with the tying run on an RBI single through the left side.

It was a battle throughout and you could see the emotion on both sides and in both dugouts, especially with the Longhorns as they showed all the signs of knowing they were playing for the extension of their season.

"We played really good here," Holliday said. "I'm not going to let one inning stain my vision of the team and where we’re at. If you ask us, we anticipate every day to play great baseball.

"I feel really good about the kids. We got here Tuesday, and I felt like we were in a great frame of mind – we approached the game well, we pitched well and we played tremendous defense except for 10 minutes. We encountered some situations in that eighth inning with the game on the line where Texas executed. We will learn from this game. This game won’t stain negatively in any of our pockets. I love these kids, and I’m very proud of them."

The Cowboys finished with six hits in the game, with Green and Walton collecting their two hits apiece. Remey Reed suffered the loss on the mound in relief, despite both the runs he allowed being unearned, to fall to 3-2 on the season. Reed was one of seven pitchers used by the Cowboys. The most they have used in one game in sometime.

Eleven of the players on these two teams in the championship game made up the Big 12 All-Tournament Team including Walton, first baseman Dustin Williams, starting pitcher Michael Freeman, and relief pitcher Trey Cobb.

Again, the Cowboys find out if they are a host regional site tonight and the rest of the details on the 64-team NCAA field and the path to the College World Series at 11 a.m. Monday.

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