May 29, 2009

CLEMSON, S.C. - Tom Belza tied a school record with three home runs and collected a career-high six RBIs to lead Oklahoma State to a 10-6 win over Alabama in the opening round of the NCAA Clemson Regional Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.

With the win, OSU advances to the winner's bracket of the Clemson Regional and will face the winner of tonight's Clemson-Tennessee Tech Saturday at 6 p.m. (CST).

Belza, a sophomore, entered the game with four career home runs - two as a freshman and two this season - but became the 10th different OSU player to have three home runs in a game. The feat has been achieved just 12 times in Cowboy baseball history.

Tyler Lyons picked up the win on the mound for the Cowboys to improve to 7-5 on the season, and Randy McCurry tied OSU's single-season record for saves with his 10th.

OSU, which improved to 33-22, struck for four runs in the top of the first inning, with Belza providing all the runs and giving the Cowboys the lead on a grand slam.

Micheal Dabbs led off the game with a single, and Tyrone Hambly followed with a bunt single. After a walk to Neil Medchill, Kevin David popped out, bringing Belza to the plate. And the Cowboy shortstop delivered, blasting a hanging pitch from UA's Austin Hyatt into the seats in right field for his third home run of the season.

The Cowboys added to their lead in the second. Following a one-out walk to Dean Green, Dabbs doubled into the gap in left-center field. Up next, Hambly sent a single through the right side to bring home a pair of runs and make the score 6-0.

OSU's power surge continued in the third. Belza led off the inning with his second home run of the game, and three batters later, Doug Kroll delivered another solo shot, his 10th homer of the season, to push the Cowboys' lead to 8-0.

Alabama (37-20) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, rallying for five runs on four hits, all coming with two outs.

After Lyons issued a two-out walk to Josh Rutledge, an RBI double by Ross Wilson plated the Crimson Tide's first run. Lyons hit UA's next batter with a pitch before an RBI single by Brandon May and an RBI double by Clay Jones made the score 8-3.

The Crimson Tide wasn't done. Wes Henderson provided a bases-loaded single to bring home a pair of runs and pull UA within 8-5 before Lyons struck out Alex Kubal for the second time in the frame to end the inning.

Belza's record-tying home run came in the fifth as once again he led off the inning with a homer, this one an opposite-field shot over the wall in left field to put the Cowboys up by a 9-5 margin.

Once again, UA answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring a run with two outs on a double by Vin DiFazio to trim its deficit back to three.

The score remained 9-6 when the Crimson Tide again threatened, this time loading the bases with two outs in the sixth after a double, a hit batter and a walk. But McCurry came out of the OSU bullpen and struck out May to get the Cowboys out of the jam.

OSU added an insurance run in the eighth on an RBI double by Medchill that provided the game's final margin.

McCurry worked the final 3.1 innings and did not allow a run. The right hander gave up just two hits and struck out two.

Lyons picked up his seventh win to tie him with Tyler Blandford for the team high. The junior southpaw tossed 5.2 innings and allowed six runs on 10 hits. He struck out four and walked two.

Hyatt lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits, three of them home runs, to fall to 8-3 on the year.