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Oklahoma State Blanks Nebraska, Gets Clemson on Saturday



The Oklahoma State Cowboys got the regionals started out on the right foot with a 6-0 win over third-seeded Nebraska. OSU was able to put the two ugly losses suffered last week’s Big 12 tournament behind them and will advance to play Clemson on Saturday.

The Cowboys loaded the bases in the first inning against Nebraska freshman Matt Waldron. Garrett Benge and Conor Costello would each hit RBI singles to give OSU an early 2-0 lead, but would leave three runners stranded to end the inning. This struck me as a missed opportunity that could hurt the Cowboys later in the game, luckily it didn’t.

In the third inning Costello would drive in Benge with a monstrous home run to left center to give the Cowboys a 4-0 advantage. The senior would add another RBI single in the fourth. Costello continued his hot hitting that started in the Big 12 tournament and showed that he can single-handedly carry this offense going 3-for-4 with four RBIs.

OSU ace Thomas Hatch was on the mound and showed us why he was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year. Hatch dealt for seven innings, giving OSU exactly the performance it needed in the opener. The draft-eligible sophomore dazzled in front of a national television audience saving one of his best performances for a huge stage.

Hatch showcased a slider with incredible depth, using it to punch out 10 Nebraska hitters. The only downside of this outing is that threw 108 pitches and will not pitch again unless the Cowboys advance to the super regionals.

“We’ve become very spoiled because this young man has pitched like this very, very consistently all year long,” coach Josh Holliday told Baseball America. “You never take for granted what an outstanding start that is but he’s given it to us so many times.”

Coach Josh Holliday made an interesting decision to use Trey Cobb for the final two innings of the game. Cobb, a member of the weekend rotation for a majority of the regular season, went back to role late-relief that he started the season with. I was critical of Tyler Buffett’s meltdown performances in the Big 12 tournament, but I was honestly surprised to see Cobb in the late innings on Friday.

This undoubtedly means freshman Jensen Elliott will be on the mound tomorrow when OSU takes on a Clemson team that put up 24 runs in a win over Western Carolina. Feeling comfortable in their own ballpark, the Tigers mashed seven home runs against the No. 4 seed.

Elliott will be pitching in the biggest game of his life on Saturday, but win or lose the Cowboys will be starting someone that wasn’t a part of the weekend rotation in their third game. Garrett Williams pitched just 12 innings on the year, but he would be a candidate along with Michael Mertz (1-3, 4.44 ERA) who made some weekday starts. In all likelihood I think Holliday will piece innings together with a combination of relievers.

The Cowboys will be facing the hottest offense in the country coming off a record-setting game on Saturday. This is a season-defining game for OSU. A win would mean a fast-track to the super regionals, but a loss would be near fatal as the Cowboys don’t have the pitching depth to go through the loser’s bracket.

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