A see-saw marathon at the Frisco College Baseball Classic between two CWS rivals from last summer in Omaha didn't disappoint, but Arizona won it in a ninth inning walk-off double.
FRISCO, Texas -- Oklahoma State had a great opportunity to get back at the team that sent them packing from the College World Series last summer in Omaha as they led 9-6 going into the bottom of the eighth inning against the 9-0 Arizona Wildcats in the Dr. Pepper Ballpark. The Cowboys and the Wildcats were the first game in day two of the inaugural Frisco College Baseball Classic. However, a meltdown in the eighth led to three Arizona runs. Blake Battenfield came on to pitch for the Cowboys, the fifth arm of the day. With two on and two outs, first baseman J.J. Matijevic doubled to the gap in left-center and that scored two runs. Freshman third baseman Nick Quintana singled and that scored Matijevic to tie the game at 9-9.
The Cowboys threatened in the top of the ninth when shortstop Jacob Chappell led off with a walk and then leftfielder Garrett McCain singled to put runners on first and second, but three straight fly outs from Ryan Sluder, Garrett Benge, and Colin Simpson eliminated the opportunity.
Arizona took full advantage of their chance in the bottom of the ninth and with two outs and two runners on after being hit by Jonathan Heasley, who had come on as the sixth Oklahoma State pitcher, and leftfielder Mitchell Morimoto drove the ball deep to centerfield. Just like in Omaha last year, centerfielder Ryan Sluder went back on it and dove backwards getting the ball in his glove, but unlike Omaha where the ball stayed in the mitt, this time as Sluder hit the ground it popped out and the winning run crossed home plate. Arizona stayed unbeaten winning 10-9 and going to 10-0 on the season. The Cowboys dropped to 5-5 after winning 1-0 over Nebraska on Friday and losing Saturday in the marathon three hour and 51 minute game.
“It was quite a game," Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday said. "It had the feel of an NCAA Regional. Both these schools have talented teams. We were down 6-0 and fought hard to come back. Our kids stormed back to take the lead, but Arizona made that last push."
"What an unreal college baseball game," Arizona head coach Jay Johnson added. "That was exactly what I was hoping for when we signed up for this tournament. Two really good teams were competing. You have to tip your hat to Oklahoma State. They were taking major league swings and not missing their pitch when they got it. They saw some pretty good pitchers, so it wasn't an accident. I think that is going to be a scary team offensively as they continue to improve. I'm glad we don't have to see that offense again."
Pitching was not as stout as it was last night and the bats were silent to begin with. Arizona starter Michael Flynn had a no hitter going through four before the Cowboys got to him in the fifth. Once he was out the Pokes got their licks in with McCain, Sluder, second baseman Andrew Rosa, and rightfielder Jon Littell all putting the ball out of the Dr. Pepper yard. McCain had a 3-for-5 day and three RBI.
“Our kids responded well after being down, and it was important that they never felt they were out of the game," Holliday said in summation. "We had some words of encouragement after the game, and tomorrow is a new day."
Sunday the Cowboys finish their weekend in Frisco with a 3:30 p.m. game with Arkansas.