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Oklahoma State Blanks Wildcats to go 2-0 at College World Series



Oklahoma State’s incredible postseason run moves along as the Cowboys knocked off Arizona for its second consecutive 1-0 victory. The Cowboys dominant pitching hasn’t allowed a run in the College World Series and are now just one win away from a spot in the championship series.

For the second straight game a Garret Benge fourth inning RBI is the only run OSU can manage. However, the one run of support was all OSU starter Tyler Buffett needed in the game. After the run scored Buffett would surrender just two baserunners in the remaining five innings that he pitched.

Buffett used the same recipe that Thomas Hatch did in game one, running his sinking-fastball off the outsides of the plate to get groundball outs. Even while working with a strike zone that was considerably smaller than what OSU had pitched to all postseason, Buffett thrived, walking two and striking out six.

“I felt I got a little bit of tunnel vision toward the glove and started finding the command that is necessary at this level,” Buffett told the Tulsa World. “And then having those guys making the plays behind me just helped everything out.”

Having pitched 22 tournament innings, Buffett is right behind Hatch having given up just two runs. With only 100 pitches through eight, one could have argued for Buffett to come back out and finish a shutout of his own. However, Josh Holliday thought better off it and brought Trey Cobb in to shut things down in the ninth.

Holliday and his team seem to have learned from the mistakes that have beguiled them in past postseasons. Holliday is pulling pitchers when they need to come out instead of trying to let them pitch out of trouble.

The Cowboys have made the biggest strides on defense though and Buffett’s performance tonight wouldn’t have been possible without it. Ryan Sluder went full-extension of the first defensive play off the game, Benge continues to pick it with the best of them at third base and Walton has played mistake free at shortstop.

While Sluder and Benge will likely be on Sportscenter for their efforts my favorite defensive play was the 6-4-3 double play turned in the bottom of the eighth. Buffett had just issued a one-out walk and the tension was starting to build. Like he did all day Buffett kept his cool and induced a groundball deep into the hole that Walton fielded and flipped to J.R. Davis at second who threw onto first to end the inning.

The Cowboys offensive struggles needs to be addressed though, after striking out 12 times and scoring just once off Arizona starter Bobby Dalbec. The Pokes style of baseball fits TD Ameritrade Park better than any team in the field, but they can’t rely on the pitching to throw shutouts every night.

OSU now finds itself in the drivers’ seat after starting 2-0. The Cowboys don’t play again until Friday. With UCSB’s victory over Miami the No. 3 national seed is now eliminated and the Gauchos and Wildcats will battle Wednesday for another date with OSU.

Whoever comes out of the loser’s bracket will have to either beat Jensen Elliott or beat both Hatch and Buffett on full rest, which is possible, but doesn’t seem likely with the way they’ve been throwing.

With another nail-biting victory Monday this team’s confidence gets even higher and the momentum continues to roll along. I think a “team of destiny” label is fitting with this team just one win away from the championship series.

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