(From Oklahoma State Athletic Media Relations)
OKLAHOMA CITY – With its season on the line, Oklahoma State swept a weather-shortened Bedlam Series with a pair of wins over 20th-ranked Oklahoma Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Cowboys took the opener by a 9-7 margin before winning the finale, 5-2.
With the wins, OSU closed out the regular season with a 26-25 record and finishes the season 8-14 in Big 12 Conference play, good for an eighth-place finish and a berth in next week’s Big 12 Championship.
Joe Lienhard was outstanding over seven innings of work on the mound to earn the win in the finale, while Garrett McCain and Dustin Williams each drove in a pair of runs to lead OSU at the plate.
In the resumption of the series opener from Friday, the Cowboys led 5-2 going into the bottom of the fifth, and the final half of the game would prove to have plenty of drama.
OSU plated runs in the sixth, when Ryan Cash scored on a wild pitch, and in the seventh on a solo home run by Dustin Williams, his third of the season, to go up 7-2.
The Sooners cut into the lead with runs in seventh and eighth to pull to within 7-4, and the final inning would see both teams put crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
The Cowboys would add a pair of insurance runs in the top of the frame, with Jon Littell picking up an RBI on a perfect squeeze bunt before pinch hitter Bryce Fischer put OSU up 9-4 with an RBI single.
Those runs would prove valuable in the bottom of the inning. OSU called on closer Trey Cobb to secure the win, but it wouldn’t come easy.
After retiring the leadoff batter, Cobb issued back-to-back walks and a single to load the bases. Steele Walker then drove home two runs with a double as he smacked a ball deep to right field; Littell made a great play to get a glove on the ball and ensure it didn’t carry over the fence for a homer despite not being able to make the catch. Walker’s hit made the score 9-6 before an RBI groundout by Austin O’Brien trimmed the OSU lead to two.
With a runner on third and the tying run at the plate, Cobb struck out Brylie Ware looking to end the game.
Blake Battenfield, who took the mound for the fifth inning in relief of Friday’s starter Tyler Buffett and worked 3 1/3 innings, earned the win to move to 3-4 on the season, while Cobb’s appearance in the opener was the 88th of his career, which set OSU’s all-time record.
Garrett Benge led the Cowboys at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance in the opener, while McCain and Cade Cabbiness each had two hits apiece.
In the nightcap, OSU jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning against OU starter Kyle Tucker, who lasted just 2/3 of an inning. Following a leadoff walk to Ryan Cash, McCain delivered an RBI triple into the left-center field gap to put the Pokes up 1-0. They would extend that lead when with two outs and the bases full of Cowboys, Williams collected a two-RBI single.
OSU would go up 4-0 in the fourth as McCain continued to prove his status as the Big 12’s top hitter with a two-out RBI single.
The Sooners would answer with a run in the bottom of the frame, collecting two hits and plating an unearned run on an infield single by O’Brien.
OU’s final run came in the seventh on a two-out RBI single by Cade Harris, but Lienhard got some help from his defense against the Sooners’ next batter, Jack Flansburg, to keep the score at 4-2 as McCain made a highlight-reel catch in left-center field to end the inning, racing over and laying out for a diving catch.
Lienhard’s impressive performance included working out of a pair of early jams by inducing key double play groundouts in both the first and second innings, and he settled into a groove and went on to tie a career high with seven strikeouts, equaling his total from his March 15th start against New Mexico. With the win, he improved to 3-2 on the season.
After going up 5-2 in the eighth when Cabbiness scored on a wild pitch, OSU turned to its bullpen in the bottom of the inning. The Sooners got a pair of runners on with two outs against Jake Cowan, but Carson Teel came out and struck out the potential tying run, Ben Hollas, to end the threat.
Teel would work a perfect ninth inning to seal the win and earn his second save of the season.
OSU will return to the Bricktown Ballpark for the Big 12 Championship and will open play Wednesday against top-seeded Texas Tech, with a game time to be announced Sunday.