OKLAHOMA CITY – A strong defensive effort, as well as mighty pitching from Oklahoma State paved a path for the Cowboys to close out the No. 2 seed Baylor on Thursday night at 5-0.
The Cowboys found success in the opening round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament yesterday against TCU where OSU took a 5-2 win over the Horned Frogs to advance to Thursday night’s winners bracket, while Baylor was able to hold down an 8-2 win over the Oklahoma Sooners in their opening round.
Junior RHP Jensen Elliott started on the mound for the Pokes after missing majority of the 2017 and 2018 seasons with an elbow injury and recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“Obviously Tommy John is not a very fun experience to go through,” Elliott said postgame. “I was always there for Parker [Scott] because I knew the process and that it would be a struggle, but we’re both happy to be out there competing for our team and the university.”
Elliott would finish with six scoreless innings, four strikeouts, allowing only two hits, and saw 20 at-bats. He was relieved by junior RHP Peyton Battenfield in B7.
“I had a good approach going into the game,” Elliott said. “I knew that if I executed my game plan, I’d be successful, and tonight I happened to do that. My defense worked well behind me.”
It was neck-and-neck for the first three innings of the game where both pitchers kept each other’s team scoreless through three. Cowboy senior Colin Simpson would change that in T4.
Starting pitcher for the Bears Jimmy Winston started the fourth inning throwing four consecutive balls to Simpson allowing him access to 1st base with shortstop Andrew Navigato coming to the plate.
Navigato got things rolling for the Pokes knocking a hard drive into left field for a double putting himself on 2nd and Simpson in scoring position on 3rd. Trevor Boone launched a nice hit to left field as the next batter up for a 2RBI sending Simpson and Navigato home, and putting the Cowboys on the board first.
OSU leads 2-0
Oklahoma State would rake in their final three runs in T6 starting with Colin Simpson hitting his 14th home run of the season on his first pitch sending a bomb over the wall in center field. This was a two-run bomb bringing himself and Christian Funk home extending the Cowboys’ lead to 4-0.
“I started out the year pretty rough and couldn’t feel my swing,” Simpson said postgame. “It’s more like a confidence builder that all the adjustments I’ve made and all the things I’ve been working on are finally starting to show up in games and end-game results.”
Still in T6, with Trevor Boone on 1st and Andrew Navigato on 2nd, left fielder Carson McCusker kept the ball rolling for the Pokes launching a nice drive to left field giving Navigato the opportunity to find home and giving McCusker a double.
OSU leads 5-0
Baylor, never able to bounce back, called upon sophomore RHP Daniel Caruso out of the bullpen to relieve Winston, who finished the night with seven strikeouts but allowed six hits and five runs.
“I just think he ran out of gas,” Baylor Head Coach Steve Rodriguez said of Winston postgame. “Every one of OSU’s walks scored this evening, and unfortunately against an offense like this, you can’t take a hit off. It’s not like he [Winston] meant to.”
The Cowboys continued with strong defense and brought in Battenfield to relive Elliott in B7 where Peyton retired the Bears in order with three consecutive strikeouts, and would finish with six total allowing only one hit.
“They’re serious when they [OSU players] tell you they play for the day off,” Cowboys Head Coach Josh Holliday said postgame about the Pokes having a rest day between games. “They’ll have fun tomorrow, and they’ve earned that. I want that for them. We’ll do something with their bodies to shake off fatigue and soreness, and we’ll get them ready for what’s next.”
The Cowboys will have Friday off as they advance in the winners bracket to Saturday’s Championship semifinals at 12:30 p.m.
Baylor falls to the losers bracket and will match up with TCU, who had a dominant 15-3 win eliminating the Sooners earlier in the day, and this game will take place Friday evening at 7 p.m.
With this win, the Cowboys move to 34-17 in the season and have a season-high fifth consecutive victory. This game also marks the sixth shutout for Oklahoma State during the 2019 season.