OSU baseball: Cowboys head to TCU trying to build off momentum from Bedlam win
STILLWATER — It was a midweek game with no bearing on conference standings.
Other than Bedlam pride, Tuesday’s game against Oklahoma seemed to offer very little to the Oklahoma State baseball team.
Yet as it turns out, the 6-5 walkoff win over their rival might carry lasting effects for the Cowboys.
OSU turns its focus to No. 19 TCU for a three-game series in Fort Worth, Texas, beginning Friday, a challenging but important task for a Cowboy team trying to claw back into prominence.
“This could be a big moment for us moving forward,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said after the dramatic victory on Tuesday. “It ended up being a good game to have to execute late in the game in a challenging situation against a really good opponent.
“It’s a great moment for our kids, and we’ll take that momentum down to TCU.”
Momentum aside, there were aspects of the Bedlam win that were smaller yet equally important to the task at hand for OSU.
Tuesday’s starting pitcher, C.J. Varela, threw a career-high 100 pitches and ate up six innings, fighting through a tough situation in the fourth to finish with seven strikeouts.
“Last weekend, we used up a lot of guys on the mound,” Varela said. “I knew I had to come out here and put up innings and do the best I could.”
That lets Holliday set up his starting rotation the way he wants without having to worry about overworked relievers. The Cowboys are expected to send Jensen Elliott, Joe Lienhard and Brett Standlee to the mound as starters this weekend, each of whom has an earned-run average below 3.00 so far.
“You can’t afford to tax your bullpen at great length in midweek when you’ve got a challenging weekend series ahead,” Holliday said. “We needed someone to give us a good start and C.J. did.”
The Cowboys have won four straight going back to a sweep of Kansas State last weekend. At 16-7 overall, they have eight wins in the last 10 games.
And OSU showed its toughness in the Bedlam win, pulling it out in the bottom of the ninth inning after giving up three runs with three errors in the eighth that allowed OU to tie it. That could be the most valuable nugget from Tuesday’s game.
“For us to respond and not let that three-run inning shift the momentum completely back their direction is a growth moment for us,” Holliday said. “There were times early that might’ve done us in.”
OKLAHOMA STATE AT No. 19 TCU
When: 6:30 p.m., Friday; 2 p.m., Saturday; 1 p.m., Sunday
Where: Lupton Stadium, Fort Worth