With the win, OSU improved to 40-18, its first 40-win season since 2001, and advanced to winner's bracket action. The Cowboys will face the winner of today's game between second-seeded Arkansas and No. 3-seed Oral Roberts on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"The biggest thing is we got a win," said OSU head coach Frank Anderson. "The first game is crucial to set up pitching for the rest of the weekend. For Matt (Gardner) to go out and give us nine innings really allows us to have more options."
Gardner improved to 7-3 on the season as the right hander struck out a career-high six and allowed just one earned run on seven hits.
"I threw the ball over the plate, and we played great defense," Gardner said. "I feel if I can locate (my fastball) and keep it down in the zone then the hitters will get themselves out."
The Cowboys got on the scoreboard in their first at bat, scoring an unearned run against Princeton starter Erik Stiller (4-4). Keanon Simon reached second on a two-base error by Tiger left fielder Micah Kaplan, and Tyler Mach singled to put OSU runners on the corners. Simon would score on a fielder's choice by Deik Scram.
In the second inning, the Cowboys increased their lead to 3-0 when Matt Clarkson blasted a two-run home run over the left-field wall. It was the senior catcher's third round tripper of the season and also scored Jordy Mercer, who had singled.
Princeton (19-25-1) would get its only run in the fourth as Sal Iacono lifted a homer to right-center field.
OSU's final score came in the seventh on a two-out, RBI single by Corey Brown that scored Shelby Ford from second base.
The Cowboys are expected to start senior southpaw Brae Wright on the mound Saturday. Wright is 8-3 with a 3.82 ERA.
Cowboys Open Regional With 4-1 Victory
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