Cowboys Open Season With Victory

MOBILE, Ala. – It took over four hours, but Oklahoma State earned a win in its 2006 season opener on Friday as head coach Frank Anderson's Cowboys recorded a 17-13 victory over host South Alabama at the Jaguar Invitational.

Nearly 700 fans watched as South Alabama erased a one-run deficit and tied the game at 12-12 on an RBI infield single by Billy Kleinschrodt in the bottom of the ninth inning. OSU freshman shortstop Jordy Mercer made a diving stop on Kleinschrodt's grounder into the hole, a play that held the winning run on third base.

With the game extended into extra innings, the Cowboys wasted little time regaining momentum in the top of the 10th. With two on and one out, sophomore Corey Brown singled just over the outstretched glove of a leaping Patrick Weaver at second base to score Keanon Simon from second. Junior Deik Scram followed with a single to right field to give the Cowboys a 14-12 advantage.

Then came the big blow as switch-hitting Shelby Ford, batting from the left side of the plate, delivered a three-run home run over the left field wall to make the score 17-12. A transfer from TCU who was an All-Conference USA performer a year ago, Ford finished the contest 4-of-7 at the plate with five RBIs.

Ford highlighted an impressive offensive display by the Cowboys, who collected 22 hits in the contest, their highest total since March 12, 2005 when they racked up 25 hits against Wisconsin-Milwaukee. OSU scored three or more runs in four different innings and had five players with at least two RBIs.
Along with Ford, newcomer Tyler Mach homered, as did Adam Carr, who led the Big 12 Conference in home runs last season with 22.

Sophomore Matt Gardner earned the win on the mound for the Cowboys, working the final 1 1/3 innings and striking out three to pick up the first win of his OSU career.

South Alabama, which dropped to 2-1 on the season, was led by David Freese, who was 4-for-6 with three RBIs. Eric Sulivant took the loss on the mound for the Jaguars as he gave up four runs in only 1/3 of an inning.

Oklahoma State will face No. 20 Arkansas today at 4:30 p.m. at Stanky Field. The Razorbacks opened their season with a 4-1 win over George Mason on Friday.

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