Cowboys, Ridling End Big 12 Losing Skid

OKLAHOMA CITY - A late arriving crowd dressed in orange gave the Oklahoma State Cowboys the home field advantage at the Bricktown Ballpark even though Oklahoma City has seemed like the end of the earth for Oklahoma State as it entered Friday night having lost nine games in a row in the Big 12 Tournament.

The Cowboys lost their opener in the 2008 event to seventh seed Kansas State 3-2 in a game where they had multiple opportunities in the later innings but couldn't get a big hit with runners on base. That was not a problem Friday night in the big town against the Baylor Bears.

The Cowboys bashing party hit a crescendo in the top of the seventh inning when with the bases loaded Baylor reliever Tim Matthews made a mistake fastball to Rebel Ridling. The big first baseman from Sentinel, Okla., swung and crushed it to the bullpen and a shot of at least 420 feet, second really deep ball of the night by the Cowboys and their third home run of the evening. For Ridling it was his 18th home run on the season and left him with 65 RBI at that point. The big blow buldged the OSU lead to 14-3 and set up a run-rule win. The Cowboys bats on this night were working early and often.

After scoring one run off Baylor starter Craig Fritsch in the first when lead off hitter Donnie Webb scored on a ground ball to second by freshman designated hitter Dean Green, the Cowboys put on out fashioned OSU bashing on the Bears in the top of the third.

First, the Cowboys averted a disaster in the bottom of the second when Baylor got a lead off single from Aaron Miller and then a one-out double by DH Dustin Dickerson. With runners at second and third, the Cowboys misplayed two straight bunts by the eight and nine hole hitter for the Bears allowing for base hits but only one run scored. Oklahoma State starter and ace Andrew Oliver helped himself with a strike out and a fly out to right field.

Then the baseball heavens opened and swallowed up the Bears as Webb hit a line drive to the gap in left field for a single, Fritsch hit Jordy Mercer, and Matt Hague, who earlier had bailed out the Cowboys with running reach out ankle high catch in the first, bailed the Cowboys out of their tournament losing skid with a home run into the bullpen in left, a 420-foot shot for a 4-1 lead.

It was back to work as Green doubled into the gap in right field, advancing thanks to a weak throw back into second base. It didn't matter because Ridling, the next batter, hit the ball to the deepest part of right field, a 380-foot shot for a two-run homer and a 6-1 Oklahoma State lead. The Cowboys would add another run before the damage was complete in the third when Donnie Webb, in his second at bat in the inning, singled home Thomas Belza, who had also singled in the six run, seven hit frame. Baylor never threatened to pull the starter Fritsch as OSU forged the 7-1 advantage.

For Hague it was his 10th home run of the season and his 49th, 50th and 51st RBI. Ridling later would expand his numbers.

In the top of the fourth the Cowboys added to their advantage as catcher Luis Flores came up in the clutch with runners at the corners and delivered with a single to right to score Matt Hague for an 8-1 lead. Fritsch was done after the fourth allowing 8 runs and 11 hits in only the fourth start of the season for the freshman.

In the bottom of the fourth the Bears made up some ground with back to back RBI hits as .217 hitter Paul Miles drove a double to the wall in left center field and then second baseman Raynor Campbell followed it with a single to center that scored Miles to make it 8-3. In the Cowboys end of the sixth inning Dean Green, Rebel Ridling, and Neil Medchill hit back to back to back singles to load the bases with one out. Baylor head coach Steve Smith brought in Tim Matthews and catcher Luis Flores drove the ball to the opposite field in right off the wall on the bounce for a double. Green and Ridling scored, but Medchill had held up at third however Flores did not hold at second. The base running miscue cost the Cowboys an out, but the runs made it 10-3 sucking the life out of the Bears on a hot, muggy Oklahoma night.

The Cowboys went on to win the game 14-3 by run rule after seven innings balancing their tournament record at 1-1. On the season sixth ranked Oklahoma State is 41-16, while Baylor drops to 1-1 in the tournament and 32-25 on the season. Oliver is now 7-2 on the season and Fritsch, 3-4, took the loss for Baylor.

Nebraska became the first higher seeded team to win a game in the tournament and it took the first game on the third day (Friday) of the event. Nebraska handled Kansas State 5-2 in the pool two opener.

Friday's results leave OSU in contention in a wide open pool two. Oklahoma State needs a win over the Huskers in its 4 p.m. game and for Baylor to recover and defeat Kansas State. An OSU loss to Nebraska or a Kansas State win would eliminate the Cowboys from playing in Sunday's championship game at 2 p.m.

In pool one, the eighth seed, Oklahoma is in control with a 2-0 mark and wins over top seed Texas A&M (0-2) and Missouri (1-1). If the Sooners beat Texas (1-1) in their breakfast at the Brick affair (9 a.m.) then OU advances to the title game.

GoPokes Top Stories