OKLAHOMA CITY – It was a good day to be a Cowboy at the Bricktown Ballpark as the Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 5-2 to capture the title of Big 12 Baseball Tournament Champions.
A happy ending didn’t come easy for the Cowboys as they first had the challenge of eliminating the TCU Horned Frogs earlier that day to make it into the championship game in the first place. The Mountaineers, however, had the morning off after solidifying their spot in the championship game Saturday afternoon after defeating No. 1 seed Texas Tech 2-0.
The Cowboys and the Horned Frogs came face to face Sunday morning at 9 a.m. after inclement weather and tornado threats in the OKC metro postponed their game on Saturday night.
OSU treated TCU to a 10-inning game where a walkoff 1B RBI from Alix Garcia in B10 gave the Cowboys the 7-6 win eliminating TCU and giving them an automatic bid to the championship game, which would be played 30 minutes later.
“We planned out what we thought was our best strategy to win game one,” Cowboys Head Coach Josh Holliday said following his team’s championship win. “TCU is a really good team. They’re hard to get out. The rally from the first game created this moment for us and gave us a chance to do what we did in the second game.”
Redshirt freshman Brett Standlee took the mound to start things off for the Pokes where he allowed seven hits, one run, and had three strikeouts.
“We used pretty much every arm in that bullpen before this game,” Standlee said following the championship win. “I knew I was going to have to throw as long as I could. I knew I just needed to go out there and compete as hard as I can, and as long as I can keep them off the scoreboard, we would be good.”
West Virginia was first on the scoreboard in T3 after centerfielder Brandon White grounded into a double play bringing home the game’s first run.
WVU leads 1-0
Oklahoma State wouldn’t see the scoreboard until B5 as the bases were loaded with Hueston Morrill, Jake Taylor, and Christian Funk with two outs and Colin Simpson up to bat for the Pokes.
WVU’s Zach Reid was called from the bullpen to replace Madison Jeffrey, and four consecutive balls later, Simpson strolled to first base allowing Taylor to come home and put OSU on the board
Short stop Andrew Navigato came to the plate next for the Pokes and whacked a high and long pop to left field that had all the potential of being a grand slam, but as the ball slipped from WVU’s TJ Lake, it hit the wall staying in play, but this did allow Morrill and Funk to find home. Simpson would attempt to bring in another run for the Pokes, but a throw home called Simpson out on the play and would end the Cowboys’ hot streak.
OSU leads 3-1
OSU’s Carson McCusker was the next hero for the Pokes with two outs in B7 sending a strong drive to center field for a 2B sending Navigato home safely extending the Cowboys’ lead to 4-1.
Alix Garcia sparked the final run for the Cowboys with a 1B to left field helping McCusker find home plate giving the Cowboys a 5-1 lead.
OSU leads 5-1
West Virginia would have their final run in T9, but it wasn’t enough to secure the title, and as junior Peyton Battenfield came in to close out for the Pokes, the Cowboys would go on to win their 33rd Big 12 Tournament Championship title at 5-2 over WVU.
FINAL: OSU | 5 WVU | 2
“Coming in, I knew we were pretty special as a team,” Andrew Navigato said postgame. “Having the kind of team chemistry we have has just been amazing. We put the hard work in, and it’s a great feeling to get this championship.”
Colin Simpson was named Tournament MVP following his team’s win, and Coach Holliday had nothing but praises to sing about him following the win.
“He’s the heart and soul of our team,” Coach Holliday said. “He’s the heartbeat. From his personality, you see players like Trevor Boone blossom. You see a kid like Andrew Navigato who was unbelievably clutch today. This, in many ways, is Colin’s team.”
And the journey doesn’t end for the Cowboys as they found out just hours after their championship win that Stillwater, Oklahoma, will be a regional host destination for the NCAA Baseball Championship as the road to Omaha and the College World Series unfolds.
“Our fans are incredible,” Simpson said during postgame. “They travel, they follow us no matter what, so to be at home and in front of all those fans, it would be a lot of momentum, so hopefully we get that national seed and host a regional. We’ll see how it goes from there.”
And hours after this quote, that came true for the Pokes.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament Champions.