Oklahoma State Survives Another Late Mountaineer Comeback To Advance 4-3
It was not a pretty game, but not every game a team wins looks good. West Virginia provided some more drama at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in part to Oklahoma State’s crucial mistakes. It started in the fourth with Darius Hill getting a free pass to second on a wild pitch, which then setup the Mountaineers to get him in with a ground ball and a sacrifice fly. West Virginia then scored on another wild pitch in the sixth, and eventually scored after an error in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. The “Cardiac Mountaineers” did everything they could to take advantage of Oklahoma State’s mistakes, but it was the Big 12’s best hitter that made the difference.
Garrett McCain did everything for Oklahoma State. The junior outfielder had all four RBI’s, coming from a two-out bases clearing double in the sixth, and then the game-winning RBI single in the tenth. McCain said he felt like he was “letting the guys down” with his play so far in the Big 12 Tournament, and that he was glad that he “got a chance redeem himself” with his performance against West Virginia on Saturday. Coach Holliday said that McCain is one of the “clutchest” players he has been able to coach–his performance showed that.
Oklahoma State becomes the most recent eight-seed in the Big 12 Tournament to reach the championship game, which was last done by Missouri in 2011. However, the Cowboys are the first ever eight-seed to sweep their portion of the bracket, as they are 3-0 in the Big 12 Tournament. Coach Holliday and his team have not said much about this game being their play-in game into the NCAA Tournament, but you are able to get the sense that they know what is at stake as they play for a Big 12 Tournament Championship on Sunday.
When It Mattered Most, Texas Was Able To Bounce Back From A Game One Loss To Go To The Championship
It was not easy, as TCU took advantage of a two-out error by Longhorn second basemen Bret Boswell to score four runs in the first inning of the first game. This was enough to propel the Horned Frogs to force a second game on Saturday with a 9-2 win.
However, unexpected performances by freshman pitcher Blair Henley and junior catcher Michael Cantu were too much for TCU to recover from. Henley had the lowest ERA of the Texas pitching staff with more than eight starts, but he went six innings while not giving up a single earned run and limiting the deep TCU lineup to four hits. He had the run-support early as his offense provided three runs in the first. The Horned Frogs responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the second, but that is when Cantu changed the game.
The junior came into the game hitting below .200 on the season, but his three-run home-run in the top of the fourth took the sails out of the TCU dugout. Texas Tech shortstop, Orlando Garcia, hit a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark a day earlier without it getting out, but Cantu did enough to put it over the 415 lettering in left-center. He also started the eighth with a lead-off base hit, in which he then ended up scoring.
The two unexpected performances has put the Longhorns into the Championship Game on Sunday with an improbable matchup of the six and eight seeds in the tournament.
Sunday, May 28
Game 15: No. 8 Oklahoma State vs. No. 6 Texas – 1:00 p.m.