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Oklahoma State Falls To Illinois

The Illinois Fighting Illini showed off its tough pitching staff in Stillwater on Friday night.

Plenty of Major League Baseball team scouts were at Allie P. Reynolds stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to watch the Oklahoma State Cowboys take on the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Illinois pitcher Kevin Duchene probably impressed those scouts as his team won 6-2 while he worked seven innings and only allowed one run against the No. 10 Cowboys.

"(Duchene) was very good; he moved the ball around quite well and mixed his pitches, he's a very skilled pitcher and we weren't as competitive against him as we needed to be," OSU coach Josh Holliday said. "But sometimes you've got to tip your cap to the other team."

The starter for the Cowboys (7-5), Blake Battenfield, lasted five innings and allowed four runs, keeping the Cowboys within reach. The hitting was not helping him, though.

"I thought we swung the bat better in the middle or later innings," Holliday said. "We were not on the ball early like we would like to be. We need to have a little bit more confidence first and second times through the order."

The first hit for the Cowboys came from its second baseman Tim Arakawa in the bottom of the sixth, which extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

"I just try to go out there and have good at bats, any way to help the team," Arakawa said. "If that's what's coming about from it than awesome, but it would feel a lot sweeter if we came out on the other side of the scoreboard."

The Cowboys were able to get the bats going after the hit as it scored two runs the next inning, breaking Duchene's shutout with a sacrifice fly.

Andrew Mamlic replaced Duchene in the eighth inning. With Duchene out, the Cowboys were about to do what it loved to do in 2014, attempt a comeback.

Although the team was able to get on base against the bullpen, it couldn't work its normal late-inning magic.

"We had a little bit better luck against their bullpen and got some opportunities there," Holliday said. "We were close, and one big swing of the bat could have turned that game. But again, credit to them making the pitches when they had to."

One big hit is right. In the bottom of the eighth the Cowboys found itself down 5-1 with the bases loaded and Gage Green up to bat. Green wouldn't be able to get enough under the ball, hitting a sacrifice fly to the warning track, which brought in the only run the team would score that inning.

The Cowboys had another chance in the ninth but left two runners on base, giving the Illini (10-2-1) the win. The teams play again tomorrow at 3 p.m.