OSU baseball: TCU erases Cowboy rally, forcing late rematch
Oklahoma State’s seventh-inning rally was magical. In the eighth inning, TCU made it disappear.
When the show was finally over, the third-seeded Cowboys dropped a 13-6 decision to sixth-seeded TCU Saturday evening at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, forcing the if-necessary rematch late Saturday night to settle who will play in the Big 12 Tournament championship game on Sunday.
The Cowboys fell behind 6-0 in the top of the fourth inning, but had cut it to 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
After two walks and a single loaded the bases, right fielder Cade Cabbiness hit a game-tying grand slam that breathed energy back into those in orange.
But the momentum had little life.
TCU’s offense surged back, hitting OSU relief pitcher Ben Leeper hard to start a five-run eighth, before adding two more in the ninth.
“When we got tied in the eighth inning, we went to our closer, hoping to put up a zero, so we could come back in the bottom of the eighth and try to play for the win,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “Didn’t happen that way. That’s baseball. So from there, you’ve got to get Ben out, knowing you’re gonna need him again.”
Oklahoma State was baffled by TCU starting pitcher Jared Janczak, who entered the game with an 0-3 record and 6.28 earned-run average.
He had struck out 13 batters in 28 ⅔ innings all season, but struck out 12 Cowboys in six innings Saturday.
Texas Tech and West Virginia began play at 7:10 p.m., and the OSU-TCU rematch was scheduled to begin 30 minutes following that contest.
OSU senior catcher/designated hitter Colin Simpson continued his hot hitting with a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Simpson has now homered in five straight games and seven of the last eight, giving him 15 for the season.
“What you’re watching Colin Simpson do — he’s the best power hitter that’s played here in quite some time,” Holliday said. “He’s a very special kid. I’ll have a real hard time replacing him, the person. Obviously the player is pretty awesome, but the person is equal parts a treat to be around.”
Playing a doubleheader Saturday provided some benefits for the Cowboys and a tricky coaching situation for Holliday.
“This is great training for next weekend,” Holliday said after Saturday’s first game. “Doubleheaders are a possibility in the regional setting. They’re not physically tired. They’re more mentally tired, so we’ve got to get their minds recharged and ready to come back.”
The Cowboys are virtually assured of a top-16 seed, and thus, the chance to host an NCAA regional at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater.
Winning the Big 12 Tournament might boost their seeding, and give them a shot at a spot in the top eight.
Yet with extra games this weekend, Holliday doesn’t want to tax his players more than is necessary.
“You play this tournament to win it, you play it the right way, you play it aggressively,” Holliday said. “But you also know, some years you come into this, you have to win. Some years, you put yourself in position to where you’re not gonna do anything physically to jeopardize your team’s opportunities one week from today, when you’re playing for something to extend your season.”