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OSU falls to Arkansas in G2, must win three straight

A disappointing 8th inning ultimately did OSU in agains Arkansas on Saturday.

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Well, the Cowboys definitely have some work to do after a 7-5 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday night. Instead of needing only one victory to advance to the super regionals OSU will now need three as it has to battle its way through the loser’s bracket.

The game started out on a good note with Tim Arakawa hitting a home run over the right field wall in the second inning off of Razorbacks’ starter Keaton McKinney. After that, Garrett McCain hit a double down the line in left field that scored Conor Costello to put the Pokes up 2-0.

However, Arkansas was able to answer right back when OSU starter Michael Freeman left a pitch over the middle of the plate for Tyler Spoon, who hit a two-RBI single to even the game back up. After allowing the runs, Freeman settled in to quite a nice groove, retiring 13 consecutive hitters at one point.

The OSU bats were quiet until the sixth inning when Dustin Williams hit a single, Costello then walked followed by a Ryan Sluder single that loaded the bases. Razorbacks’ reliever James Teague then walked McCain and Jacob Chappell to force home two runs and put the Cowboys up 4-2.

It would be an understatement to say things got a little bit hairy in the eighth inning…

Freeman walked the leadoff batter and then gave up a base hit, followed by a bunt where Freeman wanted to get the out at third, but ultimately decided to try to get the out at first. That didn’t go very well as Freeman threw the ball over the head of Williams and into right field, which allowed a run to score.

Freeman then tried to intentionally walk All-American Andrew Benintendi, but the ball got by Gage Green and allowed another run to cross the plate. A couple of mental mistakes ruined a very solid outing from Freeman.

Through seven innings, Freeman only gave two runs on four hits and struck out five hitters. After the dust settled in the eighth, the Cowboys allowed five runs in the innings, four of which were charged to Freeman.

This was another example of how bad this team can be in a pressure situation. This looked extremely similar to how this team cracked under pressure against Texas in the eighth inning of the Big 12 championship and in the third inning against St. John’s. I wrote in my article yesterday that OSU would not be able to defeat Arkansas if the defense collapsed again.

I don’t know why this team cracks under pressure in big situations, but it very well could be the fatal to what has been a terrific season.

“Everyone might point to that inning and say that was a pivotal inning, but I can tell you there were several other moments throughout the ballgame where we could have done some things collectively as a team that may have not made that inning seem like such a focal point,” a disappointed coach Holliday told the media following the game.

Arkansas ran into similar high pressure situations in this game and yet its defense was able to keep its composure and not make costly mistakes. The Razorbacks honestly looked like the No. 1 seed in this game, while OSU looked like a talented No. 2 seed that couldn’t get out of its own way. This game was yet another ugly example of why this team will most likely not make it out of its own regional.

It will be an uphill battle for OSU to advance to the super regionals, but it’s not impossible. It was mentioned on the broadcast of the game that OSU has deepest pitching staff out of the three remaining teams, which gives the team somewhat of a chance to battle through the loser’s bracket and get another chance against Arkansas.

OSU will have to beat St. John’s yet again after it put together a convincing 10-4 victory that eliminated Oral Roberts. If that game is won, then the Cowboys will have to beat the Razorbacks twice if its wants to advance to the super regionals. We will see what this team can do with its back truly against the wall in these elimination games.

Photo Attribution: JT Naifeh

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