OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma State Cowboys snagged the No. 1 seed coming into the OKC Regional and are advancing to the Super Regional in Lubbock, Texas, with a 3-1 win over the No. 2 seeded UConn.
This will be the fifth Super Regional appearance in program history and the first berth since 2016. Previous years included 1999, 2007, 2014, and 2016.
The Cowboys were in a need-to-win situation entering Monday night’s matchup after dropping Sunday night’s game to UConn at 5-2. This would be their first loss of the OKC Regional.
Senior RHP Joe Lienhard started on the mound for the Pokes in his eighth start of the season improving to 4-1 with this win. Lienhard only allowed one run on five hits picking up four strikeouts and coming up clutch more than once to strand UConn runners.
“For me, it was just another game,” Lienhard said postgame. “Obviously you have that feeling of this could be the last one, but my focus was to compete and do absolutely anything I could do to help these guys win.”
UConn was first on the board in the top of the fifth when junior Anthony Prato delivered a 1B RBI bringing a Husky home and taking a 1-0 lead over the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State answered quickly tying the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when 1st baseman Alix Garcia launched a solo home run to left field. This was Garcia’s seventh home run of the season.
left-fielder Carson McCusker came up clutch for the Pokes in B6 where he delivered a 2-RBI 2B to give OSU a 3-1 lead; a lead they would keep for the remainder of the game. This 2-RBI would also accompany his three vital left-field catches that kept UConn from earning extra time on base.
Junior Peyton battenfield relieved Lienhard after six innings to close out and keep UConn off the board for any more runs, while picking up four strikeouts. This would allow OSU to take the win and advance to the Super Regional as they continue to seek their 21st College World Series appearance.
“I’m just very proud of these kids,” Cowboys Head Coach Josh Holliday said postgame. “The greatest gift of winning tonight is the extension of our team’s time together. We get a chance to keep doing this together, and that means a whole lot this time of year.”
The Pokes will travel to Lubbock, Texas, to take on a familiar Big 12 opponent in Texas Tech as the two teams compete in a best-of-three series with hopes of achieving a secured spot in Omaha. The Super Regional in Lubbock will take place June 7-10 with only one moving on to the College World Series.