OSU baseball: Cowboy defense outshines bats in win over TCU
The Oklahoma State bats brought sizzle to the show, but it was defense that gave the third-seeded Cowboys a 5-2 win over No. 6 seed TCU in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament Wednesday night at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
OSU center fielder Trevor Boone was in the middle of both, making two tough plays on fly balls before he hit a monster two-run home run that carried over the OSU bullpen in left field, and the walkway behind it, hitting The Brick’s back wall.
Colin Simpson had a solo home run and a sacrifice fly, and Andrew Navigato drove in a run with a double to left-center field. Simpson threw out a TCU runner trying to steal second base, and Navigato showed off his glove and his arm on some key plays at shortstop.
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Meanwhile, starting pitcher Parker Scott (3-1) kept making things difficult for TCU, allowing a run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts in six innings to earn the victory. He tipped his cap to the defense as well, in particular, Boone’s sliding catch of a fly ball in the left-center field gap in the first inning.
“They always have my back,” Scott said of the defense. “The first inning would’ve been different if Boone didn’t make that play. After that, I got on a little bit of a roll.”
Logan Gragg threw a pair of shutout innings in relief before handing it over to closer Ben Leeper for the ninth inning.
TCU starting pitcher Nick Lodolo (6-5), a lanky, 6-foot-5 left-hander projected as a likely first-round draft choice, had the Cowboy offense pinned down for five innings. At one point, he struck out eight consecutive OSU batters, going through the meaty part of the order with ease. He finished with 12 strikeouts in seven innings.
“We were facing a pitcher, who in my opinion, has to be the best left-handed pitcher in the country,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “We’ve seen him countless times. We have great respect for him. We knew we would have to compete awfully tough.”
Simpson’s solo homer in the second inning was all the Cowboys could manage until the bottom of the sixth. With the game tied at 1, Navigato drove in Cade Cabbiness with a double, and Simpson followed with a sacrifice fly before Boone blasted his 19th home run of the season to left field.
“His inside fastball and his slider that is in the dirt in the right-handed batter’s box, they look the exact same out of his hand,” said the left-handed hitting Simpson. “He got into a little bit of a pattern as the game went on, and started throwing the same sequences to the same hitters. I think that’s what we got onto.”
The Cowboys will get another look at second-seeded Baylor after taking two games in a rain-shortened series last weekend to close the regular season. OSU and Baylor will play at 7:30 Thursday in winner’s bracket action, televised by Fox College Sports.
TCU drops to the loser’s bracket to face Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.