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OSU Baseball: K-State Strikes First in Crucial Big 12 Series

The Cowboys fall in Game 1 to K-State.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


STILLWATER — There is an important series in O’Brate Stadium this weekend, but the Cowboys got off to an unfortunate start.

Oklahoma State fell to Kansas State 10-9 on Friday night in a battle between teams tied at second in the conference standings entering the weekend. With the win, K-State advances to 12-7 in conference play while OSU drops back to 11-8. West Virginia’s lead on the league shrunk Friday after a loss to Texas Tech. WVU is 13-6 in Big 12 play.

“We’re aware of [the Big 12 standings], but we try not to pay too much attention to it at all,” Nolan Schubart said. “We’re just trying to go day by day and making sure what we can do is the best of our ability and not trying to look at too much on the outside, making sure we’re staying on the inside like like we can.”

The Cowboys were on the backfoot for much of Friday’s game, being forced to answer K-State scores. But the Wildcats kept scoring.

Nolan McLean answered K-State’s two-run second inning with a two-run shot to center field. The ball went high into the Stillwater sky and just kept carrying until it went over the fence. It was McLean’s ninth home run of the year.

Kansas State added another two in the third just for the Cowboys to answer with a Chase Adkison bases-loaded hit by pitch and a Tyler Wulfert sacrifice fly to make it 4-4.

The Wildcats added another pair in the fifth, where OSU finally fell off the pace. OSU answered with only one run that inning, which came off a Schubart infield single.

K-State upped the pressure with a four-run seventh, an inning that saw a pair of OSU pitching changes. OSU again answered, but with only two runs via Adkison and Schubart, giving K-State a 10-7 lead.

Batting fourth and fifth in OSU’s lineup, the tandem of Adkison and Schubart accounted for six of OSU’s RBIs. The duo made things interesting in the ninth when Adkison had a two-out single to keep the game going before Schubart clobbered a ball over the fence in left to cut K-State’s lead to a single run before a Wulfert strikeout ended it.

It’s a continuation of a stellar freshman season for Schubart. He is fresh off his three-home run, two-grand slam, and 10-RBIs game against East Tennessee State. He was 4-for-5 Friday with four RBIs and two runs scored. He is hitting .360 on the year.

Adkison has also been as reliable as they come in his junior season. After going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored Friday, he is up to hitting .329 on the year. He also threw three baserunners out from behind home plate. He wasn’t in the Cowboys’ opening day lineup and when he did start his first game of the season, he was hitting ninth. He batted cleanup Friday night.

“He’s awesome,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “I got no other word for you other than awesome. That’s the best compliment I can pinpoint. In all phases — toughness, durability, focus, his team-oriented mindset, his offense, his defense — he’s played awesome.”

Juaron Watts-Brown started on the mound for the Cowboys. He didn’t have his best stuff, giving up six runs off seven hits in four and 1/3 innings. It’s the most earned runs Watts-Brown has given up as a Cowboy. He still had six strikeouts, bringing him up to 99 on the year, which would’ve ranked sixth nationally entering the night.

“I was proud of Juaron,” Holliday said. “It didn’t come easy today, but I thought he competed hard on behalf of the team. And I appreciate that. Wasn’t an easy outing for him. They’re a good offensive team. They seemed to be on some of his pitches, but he hung in there and tried to get us through five. I appreciate the effort.”

OSU still has a chance to overtake the Wildcats this weekend with Saturday’s game scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

Big 12 Standings

West Virginia — 13-6
Kansas State — 12-7
Oklahoma State — 11-8
Texas — 12-9

Josh Holliday’s Postgame News Conference

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