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OSU Baseball: Cowboys Cruise Past Sooners in Bedlam Series Opener

The Cowboys beat the Sooners in front of a record crowd.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — The Sooners nearly doubled the Cowboys’ hits on a beautiful Friday night in O’Brate, but the Pokes handled Oklahoma in the number that mattered.

Oklahoma State bested Oklahoma 9-6 on Friday in O’Brate Stadium to kick off the Bedlam series. Game 1 of the series took place in front of an O’Brate record crowd of 8,067.

“As I told the players, they were part of something special tonight: the crowd was remarkable,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “It’s a record crowd. I tell people all the time, it’s so hard to be part of any record at Oklahoma State in the sport of baseball because the people that have already played here have done such amazing things it’s hard for any of us to ever catch them.

“No one’s ever gonna lead this place in homers. No one’s ever gonna have the longest hit streak. A lot of the things that have happened here, nobody can catch, but our kids can say tonight they played in a packed house, the largest crowd in the history of this stadium. So that’s a pretty cool night for our team.”

The Sooners actually outhit the Pokes 11-6, but OSU never appeared to be in much danger. Whenever the Cowboys needed to step up, they did. The Cowboys led from wire to wire, and it started with a bang.

In the bottom of the first, All-American Nolan Schubart stepped to the dish with one on and two out. As soon as the 0-1 pitch hit Schubart’s bat, an audible “ohhh” echoed through the record crowd. The ball launched over the right-field wall and landed 456 feet from home plate with an exit velocity of 110 mph.

“One of the longest ones I’ve seen,” Holliday said. “That thing, it was close to the lights from my angle, and it wasn’t too far away. It was majestic. In all my years of coaching college baseball, it’s one of the highest, longest to the pull side that I’ve seen in quite some time. Every now and then the ones to center field, they go boom, and they measure real far. But to the pull side, when you hit one that high, that’s a towering blast. Those balls are hard to hit like that.”

The Sooners clawed one back and pulled to within a run in the top of the fifth, but the Cowboys quickly expanded their lead again.

OU intentionally walked Carson Benge with one out in the bottom of the fifth, bringing Zach Ehrhard to the plate. Ehrhard came into the day hitting a team-best .348, and he didn’t let the Pokes down in that big moment. A junior from Tampa, Ehrhard tucked the first pitch he saw down the left-field line, clearing the bases with a double to push the Pokes’ lead to 5-1.

Aidan Meola then tacked on another run, swapping places with Ehrhard with a double to left-center.

The Sooners had minor answers in the later innings of the game, but just when OU would make it interesting, the Cowboys would pick up the pace.

Freshmen stepped up big for the Pokes in the seventh. Kollin Ritchie, out of Atoka, came on as a pinch hitter with two on and two outs after OU intentionally walked Schubart. Ritchie battled through a seven-pitch at-bat to earn a walk and load the bases, bringing up fellow freshman Avery Ortiz. Ortiz also swung at the first pitch he saw and forced a ball through the left side to score a pair.

The Cowboys then got a third run in the seventh via an error to go into the eighth with a 9-3 lead, a lead safe enough for OSU to bring home.

Sam Garcia put together another solid Friday night outing on the mound for the Pokes. A transfer from High Point, Garcia threw 5 2/3 innings, where he struck out nine Sooners while allowing two runs off six hits with no walks. It’s his third-straight outing of at least nine strikeouts. In his last two outings, Garica has struck out 20 batters while walking nobody.

“Probably the most people I’ve ever — I mean, not even close — the most people I’ve ever thrown in front of,” Garcia said. “Coming from a small school, you don’t really get a lot of that attention. It’s kind of just like a backyard baseball game, but yeah, it was nice to see. But I was comfortable. I’m usually pretty good about just keeping my cool, just kind of a monotone mentality. Just one pitch at a time. I mean, it was a lot of fun, like having a strikeout and hearing thousands of people going crazy. That’s what we play baseball for.”

Robert Cranz, Drew Blake and Tommy Molsky combined for the final 3 1/3 with Molsky putting in the biggest shift of 32 pitches. Cranz threw just 15 pitches (14 of which were strikes while he recorded four outs), and Blake threw only five pitches.

So how did the Cowboys pull off a win despite losing the battle of hits? Well for starters, OSU pitchers didn’t walk an OU batter on Friday night, and the Cowboy batsmen drew nine walks. The Cowboys were timely with their hitting, scoring five runs with two outs. And the Cowboys were also aggressive at the plate in the right spots, as four of OSU’s runs came off the opening pitches of at-bats.

The Cowboys have now beaten the Sooners twice this season, including their midweek nonconference matchup in mid-March. Josh Holliday is 35-13 as a coach against OU. The Pokes will have a chance to better those numbers Saturday, as Game 2 of the series is set to start at 2 p.m. in O’Brate Stadium.

Josh Holliday’s Postgame News Conference

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