(This story was originated and written by Wade McWhorter and Oklahoma State University Athletic Media Relations.)
STILLWATER – Fueled by a third inning rally, Oklahoma State opened its 2017 home schedule with a 10-7 win over Texas State in front of 1,402 fans at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
With the win, the 11th-ranked Cowboys improved to 3-2 on the season. The victory also marked the 899th all time at Reynolds Stadium.
OSU erupted for seven runs on seven hits in the pivotal third inning to help Tyler Buffett (1-1) earn his first win of the season. Travis Wacker continued to swing a clutch bat, collecting three RBIs on the night, and Blake Battenfield closed out the win for his second save of the year.
The Cowboys took a lead they would never surrender in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Walks to Jon Littell, Wacker and Cameron Dobbs loaded the bases with two outs, and Garrett McCain picked up an RBI the hard way as he was hit by a pitch to put OSU up, 1-0.
OSU’s next at bat saw the home team seize control of the scoreboard as the Pokes sent 12 batters to the plate in what would be a seven-run frame.
Garrett Benge, who was 3-for-5 in the contest, led off the inning with a single and plated OSU’s second run on an RBI by Michael Neustifter. Littell made it 3-0 when he doubled to left field, and Dustin Williams followed with an RBI single to extend the lead.
The Cowboys were just getting started. A sacrifice bunt by Wacker resulted in his first RBI of the night, and two batters later, McCain ripped the first of back-to-back RBI triples as Andrew Rosa followed him with a three-bagger of his own to put OSU up 7-0.
The final run in the third came on Benge’s second hit of the inning, this one an RBI double.
Buffett cruised through the first three innings before the Bobcats (2-4) started to get to the OSU right-hander in the middle frames, scoring a run in the fourth and then plating four on four hits in the fifth to cut the Cowboys’ lead in half at 8-4.
Buffett finished the night with six strikeouts in five innings of work as he allowed five runs on six hits and a walk.
Cole Hearrean came on in relief to open the sixth and was strong for 2 2/3 as he racked up four strikeouts and allowed only one hit.
Texas State made things interesting in their final two at bats.
With two outs in the eighth, an error by Jacob Chappell kept the door open for the visitors, and they took advantage, plating a pair of unearned runs on consecutive RBI singles by Jacob Almendarez and Derek Scheible to cut their deficit to 8-7 before Battenfield induced a pop-up to finally end the inning.
Wacker provided a pair of crucial insurance runs in the eighth, stepping to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded and driving a pitch opposite field through the right side to push the Cowboys’ lead to three at 10-7.
Texas State led off the ninth with a double before a walk brought the tying run to the plate with nobody out. But Battenfield struck out the next three Bobcats to seal the win.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday at 3 p.m.