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OSU strokes Sooners, gets spot in Big 12 title game

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This is a guest post by Max Gross who will be covering baseball from this point forward for PFB. [pours one out for Aaron Schnautz]

First of all, I just want to say it is so great to beat Oklahoma at any point in the season in any sport, but it is just incredible to end its season by defeating them in the Big 12 tournament. 
Coach Holliday’s group went 3-1 this season against the boys from Norman this season and that’s something we can all celebrate.
Here’s how today’s 5-1 victory happened:

Dustin Williams hit a double to lead off the second inning, followed by walks drawn by Tim Arakawa and Ryan Sluder. Then a wild pitch by Sooners’ starter Cody Copping scored Williams to give the Cowboys the first run of the game. Catcher Bryan Case then grounded out to the shortstop to score Arakawa and put OSU up 2-0 early on.

RHP Jon Perrin got the start for the Cowboys and he looked like the better 2014 version of himself that has only come out on occasion this year. Perrin was not overpowering, but he was in complete control on the mound for the entirety of his outing. This was Perrin’s second win against OU this year, but he was a lot sharper than the five runs and five walks that he surrendered in his six innings on March 1st in the same ballpark in Tulsa.

The Cowboys got on the board again in the sixth inning after Williams hit another double that plated Donnie Walton, giving the Cowboys a 3-0 lead.

The only blemish for Perrin came in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Sooners got a couple of base hits before Joshua Ake scored on a base hit by Taylor Alspaugh. Other than that Perrin was incredible. I can’t say enough about how well Perrin pitched on a big stage like this Big 12 semifinal.

Perrin’s line: 6+ innings, 7 hits, 1 earned run, 4 strikeouts, 1 walk on 101 pitches.

Perrin pitched to contact very effectively, but he was also able to get Sooners’ hitters to chase pitches out of the zone when he needed to. In my eyes, Perrin had his best breaking ball of the season in this game. Also, the biggest key to his success has his ability spot his fastball in the strike zone, something that he’s struggled with at times this season.

After walking the leadoff hitter in the seventh inning, Perrin was lifted in favor of LHP Tyler Nurdin (not everyone can go the distance like Michael Freeman), who was able to get a quick double play and then a strike out to retire the side on only seven pitches. Freshman right-hander Remey Reed was then able to get out a self-created jam to throw a scoreless eighth inning.

Williams continued his incredible day in the bottom of the eighth when he hit a triple to right-center field that scored Walton. Kevin Bradley followed that up with a pinch-hit RBI single that plates Williams to finish the scoring for the Cowboys on the day.

RHP Koda Glover registered two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the victory for the Cowboys, earning them a date with the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 tournament championship tomorrow.

Player of the Game: Dustin Williams was the offensive catalyst for OSU, between his three extra-base hits, two RBI’s and two runs scored he was pretty much the entire offense for the Cowboys in this game.

Close runner-up: Bryan Case drove in a run and played incredibly behind the plate, including throwing out two runners trying to steal second base.

A little bit on Texas:

The Longhorns have gotten complete game victories from its pitchers in each of the three games it has played in this tournament. So it’s safe to say the Longhorns will have all hands on deck in the game tomorrow.

The Longhorns are in the championship game after an opening round victory over Texas Tech, followed by two victories over the Baylor Bears to eliminate them from the tournament

OSU swept the Longhorns when they came to Stillwater for a three-game series in early April. Remember the 18 inning series opener? I know Corey Hassel does. He only started the game in center field, then came on to throw three scoreless innings on the mound before hitting a walk-off three-run home run in the 18th.

I’m not completely sure who Holliday will go with on the mound tomorrow and don’t even think it will be Freeman who threw 128 pitches on Thursday, he’s not Madison Bumgarner and this isn’t the World Series so don’t bring it up.

Reed threw almost 30 pitches today so I don’t think he will be the first choice even though he has started five games this year. Nurdin only threw seven pitches so I think he could be a realistic possibility to start the game. However, this game will be decided by the bullpen. We will see just about everyone except for Freeman and Perrin pitch in the game tomorrow if needed.

The Longhorns will be playing with a lot of motivation in this game, as a win is its only hope to earn a bid in the NCAA tournament. The same cannot be said for the Cowboys, who will be hosting a regional next weekend no matter what happens tomorrow. The desperation of the Longhorns will be an important factor in determining the Big 12 tournament champion.

 

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