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Cowboys Clinch Much-Needed Series Win Over Kansas State

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With no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the final stretch of the Oklahoma State baseball team’s critical rubber match against Kansas State largely rested on the bat of Jacob Chappell, a .132 hitter.

With runners at first and second, Chappell ripped a sinking fastball over the middle of the infield and drove in the Cowboys’ third insurance run in the Cowboys’ 6-3 victory Sunday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. It was their first conference series win this season and Chappell’s first hit in three weeks.

After being swept by TCU, dropping two of three against West Virginia and losing the series opener against K-State 10-4, OSU sat 1-6 in conference play with a battered roster. Coach Josh Holliday said the club showed a lot of poise.

The Cowboys’ roster is young and incomplete. Should-be Nos. 2 and 3 starting pitchers Jensen Elliott and Parker Scott are still out with injuries. Jon Littell is out after colliding with Garrett McCain during the TCU series. Ryan Cash is limited. And Ryan Sluder is also out right now, fellow outfielder Trevor Boone said.

One-by-one, the roster is returning to health, but against the Wildcats, the Cowboys were mostly the have-nots. Although Chappell said they aren’t pressing, Holliday said there is always that sense of urgency.

Holliday said the vibe around the clubhouse after his group’s series-opening loss was an embarrassed one. Third baseman Garrett Benge said losing, particularly losing three straight conference series, is not an option for this program.

“We knew that we’d bounce back and bring the fire,” Benge said.

Chappell was 0-for-9 against Big 12 pitchers before Sunday. His struggles have been documented, like a microcosm of the pains the Cowboys have trudged through so far this season. The pressure is there. It’s felt.

Fans, family members and reporters will continue, all season, to ask questions such as, “What’s the same and what’s different between this year’s team and the team last year that made it to Omaha?” or, “What does this team need to make it back to the College World Series?” The expectations are there, and the Cowboys know them, Chappell said, but that’s not going to change the locker room.

“There’s no magic,” Chappell said. “A lot of people, fans have been worrying, thinking something’s wrong. Honestly, we’ve been confident throughout the whole time.”

Said Chappell: “Just know that nothing’s wrong and that we’re good.”

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