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Oklahoma State puts pesky St. John’s away, looks ahead to Arkansas

OSU forges ahead into a big matchup with Arkansas on Saturday night.

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It was far from easy, but the No. 1 seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys were able to scratch out a victory against the No. 4 St. John’s Red Storm. The Cowboys overcame a few defensive blunders early in the game before Tim Arakawa came through with a bases loaded single to give OSU the 5-4 victory.

“It’s up there, definitely (with my best baseball moments),” said Arakawa after the game. “This atmosphere that we just played in front of, with Allie P. sold out, basically, just roaring — that’s what you live for as a kid.

“That’s the kind of baseball games you want to be a part of. To be able to walk off in the ninth inning before a crowd like that, in front of fans like that, that’s everything you want. I was just trying to fight. The ball ended up over the plate, and I was able to get a good barrel on it.”

The Cowboys will face the Arkansas Razorbacks tomorrow at 6 PM in a matchup of teams who are 1-0 in the Stillwater regional.

Coach Holliday decided to start RHP Jon Perrin on the mound and man, did that decision pay off. Perrin was able to keep the St. John’s hitter’s off balance with a great breaking ball that they could not even touch.

More importantly he was able to spot his fastball on the outside of the plate. The one mistake that Perrin made was a solo home run allowed to Robert Wayman in the fifth inning.

Other than that he threw a clean game. Although, he only struck out four hitters, Perrin was incredibly effective in this very important first game of the regional.

Perrin’s final line: 6 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs (1 earned), 4 strike outs, 3 walks on 118 pitches.

As solid as Perrin was the offense was a different story. Sacrifices from Donnie Walton and Bryan Case were able to bring home runs in the first two innings to put the Cowboys up 2-0 early in the game.

Gage Green was a bright spot offensively with four hits in the game and he was brought home on groundouts by Dustin Williams in the third inning and again in the fifth after a similar scenario.

It felt like the OSU offense did just above the minimum in this game. Yes, they had 13 hits, but it was only able to bring home five runs against a mediocre (at best) St. John’s pitching staff.

Case had a double in the fourth inning that was the lone extra-base hit for the team and it also left 11 runners on base. The team did a good job of moving runners over, especially Walton who had three sacrifices in the game, and the runs scored when they needed to, but I just expected more production.

St. John’s did not even throw its best pitchers in this game and yet the Cowboys barely did enough to win.

Now we move onto the defense…

The Cowboys went out tonight and proved that its defensive implosion in the eighth inning of the Big 12 tournament championship was not a fluke. The third inning of the game tonight had an eerily similar feel. Two errors from Donnie Walton allowed two key runs for the Red Storm to score and made this game much closer than it needed to be.

You can blame the second error on a bad call by the umpire if you want to, but that doesn’t mean the run didn’t score. Whether it was on the transfer or not, Walton did not hold onto the ball and an important out was not recorded.

This team will not beat a talented, SEC opponent like Arkansas if it has another horrific inning such as this. This game shouldn’t have been as close as it was and part of that is on the offense, but a No. 1 seed should not make unacceptable errors like this.

Dallas Baptist was the only No. 1 seed to lose on Friday and if wasn’t for Arakawa, OSU could have joined them.

On to Arkansas…

The Razorbacks relied on its All-American center fielder Michael Benintendi to provide a go-ahead double in the sixth inning against Oral Roberts, and after that the Hogs didn’t look back on its way to an 8-6 victory.

Having only used two pitchers in the St. John’s game, OSU’s bullpen is in better shape than Arkansas’ as the Hogs used four pitchers to get by the Golden Eagles. However, I don’t know if the bullpen will be a factor in a game that LHP Michael Freeman (10-2, 1.05 ERA, 4 CG’s) should start. I’m excited to see what Freeman can do against an SEC lineup and a top-tier hitter like Benintendi.

With the amount of groundballs Freeman gets the defense will need to figure out whatever it is that is stopping them from making plays or else OSU will find itself playing the winner of ORU/St. John’s in an elimination game on Sunday.

Photo Attribution: OSU Alumni Association

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