OSU baseball: Jensen Elliott, Peyton Battenfield shut down Baylor offense
Pitching and defense keyed Oklahoma State’s 5-0 win over Baylor in a winner’s bracket game at the Big 12 Tournament — and that was just starter Jensen Elliott.
OSU's Colin Simpson homered for the fourth straight game, and Jensen, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound right-hander, gave up two hits and one walk over six shutout innings at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. He showed off his agility as well, making plays on comeback grounders and bunt attempts.
Reliever Peyton Battenfield allowed one hit over the final three innings to earn the save and buy OSU a day off on Friday. The Cowboys’ next game will be at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against either Baylor or TCU, needing one win to advance to the tournament final.
“We got a big-league pitched game tonight by Jensen,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “He did an amazing job commanding the ball. Very, very sharp.
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“We did that with a few mistakes behind him. We weren’t as sharp on defense as we have been, and yet, we pitched around some of those mistakes. The execution was very high level, as it has to be against a team as good as Baylor.”
After a throwing error by catcher Bryce Carter on a pickoff attempt allowed a Baylor runner to reach third base with one out, Elliott struck out the next two batters.
Later, when a throwing miscue advanced a Baylor runner to second, Elliott popped off the mound quickly to field an attempted sacrifice bunt, throwing out the runner going to third.
“I consider myself an athlete,” Elliott said. “Some guys probably say pitchers aren’t athletic. But I feel good about my defensive abilities. I used to play shortstop back in my early high school days.
“I’ve always been able to move pretty well for my size.”
Trevor Boone’s bat came up clutch for the Cowboys once again. After some smart base-running by Andrew Navigato set up OSU with runners on second and third, Boone singled to score both for a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.
Simpson hit his 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, and Carson McCusker added an RBI single to complete the scoring.
Simpson has returned to form over the second half of the season after he got off to a slow start in the power hitting categories. He hit one home run in the first 22 games, but he has 13 over the last 30, including six of the last seven.
“I started off the year pretty rough,” Simpson said. “I couldn’t feel my swing. I couldn’t find it. It took a lot of adjustments and a lot of improvements and a lot of work on my swing. Finally, about a week into Big 12 play, I started to feel my swing.
“I started getting a groove and my swing started feeling better. It’s more like a confidence builder that all the adjustments I’ve made are starting to show up with in-game results.”
After back-to-back late nights at the ballpark, the Cowboys can sleep in and relax on Friday. One win in two possible games on Saturday will put them in the Big 12 title game for the fourth time under Holliday, the last coming in 2017 when they won it all.