Sixth-inning rally leads No. 9 Oklahoma State to victory against No. 10 Texas
AUSTIN, Texas -- Oklahoma State earned another comeback win and evened its series with 10th-ranked Texas as the Cowboys picked up a 2-1 victory on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the No. 9 Cowboys improved to 30-13 overall and maintained their spot atop the Big 12 Conference standings at 12-5. OSU now has 18 come-from-behind wins this season and is 9-0 in one-run games.
A two-out rally in the sixth inning propelled OSU to victory. Craig McConaughy got things going with the first of three consecutive singles by the Cowboys, with Donnie Walton’s RBI hit bringing home what proved to be the winning run.
Alex Hackerott earned the win in relief to improve to 2-1, while Brendan McCurry added to his record saves total with his 12th of the season.
“The story of the game was how we would respond to (Friday night loss) and how quickly we would engage the battle on offense after not really initiating a whole lot of opportunities (Friday),” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “The kids were very good early about creating opportunities … we were unable to finish offense, but we did start it. And we kept at it -- we didn’t let a couple of frustrating innings that slipped by us get us down and change our attitude or our vision of what we needed to do to win the game.
“In the end, we found ways to get the job done. Our kids battled. They brought it, and they responded. I’m proud of their resolve to compete. This is not an easy place to win and not an easy place to play. It’s a great win for our team.”
After OSU managed just two hits in Friday night’s loss, the Cowboys turned the tables on UT with four different pitchers allowing just two hits -- both singles -- by the Longhorns.
Texas (32-12, 10-7) took the game’s initial lead in the second inning despite not recording a hit. After OSU starter Tyler Buffett issued back-to-back walks then uncorked a wild pitch, the Horns had runners on second and third with one out. Zane Gurwitz then brought home a run with an RBI groundout before Buffett retired Kacy Clemens to escape further damage.
Despite getting the leadoff man on base in each of the first four innings, the Cowboys failed to score in each of those frames. However, that changed in the fifth.
Craig McConaughy, who was one of three Cowboys with two hits on the day, led off the inning with a double to left field. After Gage Green was hit by a pitch, Walton laid down a sacrifice bunt, and UT pitcher Dillon Peters threw wildly to first base. The error allowed McConaughy to plate the tying run, making the score 1-1.
The bottom of the fifth also proved to be pivotal. UT loaded the bases with two outs against Buffett on two walks and a single, and the Cowboys called on Hackerott to get out of the jam.
And the southpaw did just that, getting Texas’ top hitter, Mark Payton, to ground out to shortstop.
“That was the biggest out of the game other than the last one,” said Holliday. “Payton is one heck of a baseball player and a fantastic competitor.”
The Cowboys rode that momentum into the sixth inning and would capitalize on it when Walton delivered his opposite-field RBI single off UT reliever Morgan Cooper to put OSU on top.
“That was a huge clutch hit after it really felt like there was a lid on that thing,” said Holliday, whose ballclub left 11 runners on base in the game.
With the Cowboys up 2-1, Blake Battenfield kept Texas at bay with two scoreless innings before yielding to McCurry with two outs and the tying run on second in the bottom of the eighth.
McCurry came in and promptly struck out Collin Shaw, then pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth to seal the OSU win.