You can’t win if you can’t score.
The Oklahoma State baseball team is headed to their first College World Series since 1999, after a dominant start from Tyler Buffett and the rest of the Oklahoma State defense with a 3-1 win over South Carolina.
Oklahoma State, who has yet to lose a game in the post season, came out slow on the offensive side, hitting singles here and there but never able to push a run across. That changed in the fifth inning, when South Carolina imploded defensively and committed two errors, which led to three Cowboys runs.
Corey Hassel used a well-placed suicide squeeze to score Jon Littell to put the Pokes up 1-0. Donnie Walton kept things rolling with an RBI single to make it 2-0, and a South Carolina error scored Hassel to cap off a three-run fifth inning.
Buffett, who worked his way out of trouble all afternoon, came up clutch in the seventh inning as South Carolina had runners on first and second with one out. But Buffett was able to get a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Despite having a pitch count of over 100, Buffett came out to start the eight inning and walked the first batter and allowed a single up the middle to the next batter. Buffett’s day was done and in came JUCO transfer Michael Mertz.
After falling behind in the count 3-1, Mertz was able to get a deep fly ball to center for the first out, which put runners on the corner with one out. With the defense in double-play depth, Mertz threw a wild pitch, which scored the first Gamecock run of the game. Mertz was able to get out of the inning with only one run surrendered.
After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Trey Cobb came in to close it out and send the Pokes to Omaha. A fly out to right and a strikeout put the Cowboys an out away from a victory, but South Carolina wasn’t going down without a fight.
Cobb issued a walk and then a single to left put runners at first and second with two down. On a 2-1 count, second baseman J.R. Davis secured a hard hit line drive to complete the sweep.
This will be the Cowboys 20th College World Series appearance, and the Pokes will take on UC Santa Barbara in the first round.
The Cowboys are going, going, back, back to pic.twitter.com/AIloNFGdSs— Cowboy Baseball (@OSUBaseball) June 12, 2016