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Costello’s Grand Slam Leads OSU Past Longhorns In Tourney Opener



The early innings of this first round matchup had OSU fans thinking back to the last time the Cowboys played Texas in the Big 12 tournament. That game was a 6-3 victory for the Longhorns in last year’s conference championship game.

Travis Jones got Texas on the board in the first with an RBI single off OSU starter Trey Cobb and that was followed by run-scoring double from Tres Berrera, which put Texas up 2-0. Cobb would settle in, however, throwing the next three innings scoreless.

The OSU right-hander would be lifted after surrendering a leadoff single in the fifth and would be relieved by Remey Reed. Texas would add on to its lead with RBIs from Zane Gurwitz and another from Barrera to stretch the lead to 4-0.

Texas starter Ty Culbreth cruised through the first four innings letting just three Cowboys reach base. The Cowboys would get to Culbreth in the bottom of the fifth though, loading the bases with no outs.

OSU’s first run would score when a high-chopper off the bat of J.R. Davis couldn’t be handled by UT shortstop Joe Baker.  That would be followed by back-to-back singles from Corey Hassel and Donnie Walton to cut the Texas lead to 4-3 ending Culbreth’s day.

Texas coach Augie Garrido would call on freshman Beau Ridgeway to face Conor Costello with the bases loaded, a decision the coaching legend would regret. Costello would launch Ridgeway’s 1-0 offering into the Oklahoma City skyline to put the Cowboys up 7-4.

“That was probably as fast as I’ve run around the bases in my life,” Costello told the Oklahoman. “I was pumped. It’s awesome. It’s awesome to get that swing off and do it for the guys.”

“This kid, (Costello), decided to turn the entire momentum of the game with one swing,” added coach Josh Holliday. “From there, we definitely had the momentum. And our bullpen was exceptional behind them.”

OSU would add one more in the inning when Ryan Sluder scored after another error from Baker. The UT shortstop would be pulled mid-inning after the gaffe, one of three errors that contributed to the Cowboys’ eight-run outburst.

Walton would add RBI singles in the sixth and eighth to secure the OSU lead at 10-4. In total Walton went 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs on his 22nd birthday in the opening round win for the Cowboys.

Josh Holliday would hand the keys over to Michael Mertz in the seventh inning and he would finish the game while allowing just two UT baserunners for his third save of the season. Mertz’s performance proved to be a valuable one as didn’t have to spend another reliever on day one of the tournament.

Thomas Hatch is slated to throw against third-seeded TCU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and he is capable of going deep into that ballgame. OSU could be setup rather nicely if it can get by the Horned Frogs, a team they took two of three from in the regular season.  

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