The Cowboys continue to surprise everyone in the Big 12 Championships in Bricktown as they knocked off West Virginia 8-4 in the second game of the tournament for both teams. West Virginia, who is the No. 4 seed in the tournament, simply couldn’t stop Colin Simpson. The sophomore catcher was 4-for-5 with two home runs, one double, three runs scored and five RBIs.
Simpson opened up the scoring early with a two-run home run in the top of the first inning.
Ryan Cash pushed the lead to 3-0 on a fielder’s choice in the top of the fourth. Cash was also involved in a couple nice defensive plays to keep the Mountaineers off the scoreboard early.
West Virginia got a run back in the bottom of the fourth thanks to an RBI groundout by Brandon White.
The Cowboys answered right back with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. After Simpson hit the leadoff double, Dustin Williams came to the plate. He only needed to see two pitches before ripping a single up the middle, driving in Simpson.
After Williams advanced to second on a groundout by Jon Littell, Ryan Sluder stepped into the box and promptly drove the first pitch he saw into left field to bring home Williams and extend the lead to 5-1 Cowboys.
The Mountaineers scored a run for the second consecutive inning, when Braden Zarbinsky singled through the left side of the infield to bring home a run to cut their deficit to three runs once again.
In the top of the sixth inning, Colin Simpson decided he was done playing around. After Garrett McCain got hit by a pitch on the seventh pitch of the at-bat and Garrett Benge walked on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Simpson stepped into the left-handed batter’s box once again.
He only needed triple to hit for the cycle, but, alas, he didn’t get it. Instead, he smashed a pitch over 400 feet off the top of the wall in center field for a three-run home run - his second dinger of the day.
That got the Oklahoma State bullpen all fired up.
Ryan Sluder thought he had hit one out in the sixth inning as well to give the Cowboys a 10-2 lead, but West Virginia’s left fielder Kyle Davis robbed Sluder with an incredible grab to end the inning.
West Virginia scored two more times in the bottom of the sixth inning. Darius Hill hit an RBI single on the first pitch he saw, and Cole Austin had a sacrifice flyout to close out the scoring for the day for both teams.
Tyler Buffett earned the win for OSU to improve to 6-5 on the year. Buffett didn’t have a spectacular outing, giving up four runs (all earned) on 12 hits, walking two and striking out three in his 5 1/3 innings pitched. The Cowboy bullpen was perfect in relief, and the Cowboy offense was enough to get Buffett his win. Cole Hearrean and Jake Cowan had a near-perfect 1 2/3 innings, with Hearrean allowing the sole baserunner. It didn’t matter though, because Jake Cowan came on and retired the baserunner.
Carson Teel pitched a perfect final two innings, striking out three Mountaineers and throwing 14 of his 18 total pitches for strikes.
For the Mountaineers, it was starting pitcher BJ Meyers absorbing the loss. Meyers (4-4) only went two full innings before being replaced. He gave up two runs on four hits, allowed one walk and had one strikeout. It was Cody Wood who killed the Mountaineers out of the bullpen today. In one inning pitched, he allowed four runs on four hits while walking one and striking out one. He gave up the two runs in the fifth inning and went back out for the sixth, but failed to record an out. He was responsible for the runners on base when Simpson hit his second HR of the day.
Offensively for the Mountaineers, Zarbinksy was a perfect 4-for-4 on the afternoon, knocking in one RBI and scoring a run of his own.
With the two wins to open up the tournament, the underdog Cowboys have Friday off. They will resume their tournament run Saturday morning at 9 a.m. where they will face the winner of the No. 4 West Virginia - No. 1 Texas Tech elimination game. If Oklahoma State wins that game, it will win its half of the bracket and move to the championship game on Sunday. If the Cowboys lose the first game, they will play a winner-take-all game at 4 p.m. to see who advances out of the bracket.