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Texas downs Pokes for Big 12 title 

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This is a guest post by Max Gross. 

I wrote in my article yesterday that motivation would be a huge factor in deciding who would win the Big 12 tournament championship and I think that held true. I wouldn’t go so far to say that Oklahoma State did not want to be there, but it was obvious which team needed to win this ballgame and ultimately Texas came away with a 6-3 victory.
Early on it was a solid pitcher’s duel between two underclassmen with great stuff. Tyler Buffett got the nod for the Cowboys and he went out there and gave it everything he had. The sophomore was able to scatter six hits over four strong innings. His only mistake was a allowing an RBI single to C.J. Hinojosa that scored Ben Johnson to give the Longhorns an early lead.

The Cowboys could not really touch Texas pitcher Kyle Johnston. I give this kid a whole lot of credit, starting a do-or-die Big 12 championship game as a freshman and absolutely dominating a strong lineup for five innings. 

Johnston gave up a bloop single to Donnie Walton in the first inning and that was the only offense OSU registered in the early phases of the game.
Jacob Chappell drew a walk in the sixth inning, followed by consecutive singles from Gage Green and Corey Hassel to tie the game. Then with two runners on Walton and Dustin Williams were struck out by Johnston to end the scoring threat.

Trey Cobb came on in relief of Buffett in the fifth inning and threw three electric innings of one-hit ball. This was a great way to follow up the five perfect innings he tossed against West Virginia on Wednesday. If you can pick a Most Valuable Player in a tournament that you didn’t win it would have to go to Cobb for his tremendous work out of the bullpen.

The bottom of the seventh inning started with a walk to Tim Arakawa, which was followed by a scary moment when OSU pinch-hitter Garrett McCain was hit by a pitch in the side of the helmet. McCain only ended up with a cut above his eye, but a tense moment nonetheless.

A sacrifice bunt from Ryan Sluder put runners on second and third with one out and Bryan Case was able to fight off a pitch from Parker French to give the Cowboys a 2-1 lead on a fielder’s choice.

Then it got interesting in the eighth inning…

In the back off my mind I knew it was a bad sign when Walton had a high-chopping groundball bounce off of his glove for an error, but that was just the beginning. New pitcher Remey Reed was able to get an out on a sac bunt, then Chappell made an error on a hard-hit ball to third base. Tres Barrera then bunted in a runner from third base to give the Longhorns the lead and Carson LaRue could not even get the out at first.

In total, the Cowboys made three errors, which allowed four runs to score and coach Holliday needed five pitchers to record three outs in the inning. I’m going to go out on a limb and say a team is not going to win very many postseason games when it makes three errors in the eighth inning.

The optimist in me says I’m glad OSU got this out of its way before the start of the NCAA Regionals and we will never see this team meltdown like this again. 

However, the pessimist in me is very concerned that this team was not able to close out a one-run ballgame against a team that was only a couple of games above .500 on a big stage. I don’t know if the pressure got to them in a tense moment or if this was just a fluke. I guess we will find out this weekend in the regionals.
This game did not have any effect on the Cowboys’ status as a regional host. Although, it sucks to lose the Big 12 tournament championship for a second consecutive season, having a regional in Stillwater again is a pretty good consolation.

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