Pokes Make It Eight In A Row

Josh Holliday

Kansas State had to feel lousy about being shutou in the series opener on Friday night in front of a sell-out crowd. On Saturday, another sell-out crowd was back. The Wildcats delighted their fans with a first-inning run and a 1-0 lead but a light barrage of long balls from the Cowboys erased the Kansas State lead and the Cowboys won a 6-4 decision to stay in first place in the Big 12.

In the top of the second with one out, designated hitter Zach Fish, who has had a hot bat as of late and finished the game 2-for-3, launched a shot over the wall in right field to tie the game.

"I'm really proud of Zach Fish, hitting an opposite field home run," Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday said. "That shows how far along he has come as a hitter. You know early in the year he was doing okay, but he is really a guy carrying us late in the season."

After second baseman Tim Arakawa struck out, Conor Costello sent a Jake Matthys pitch into orbit, blasting the ball into the hitting eye above the fence in dead center field. Oklahoma State led 2-1 and would never trail.

The Cowboys made sure of that with a four-run inning in the top of the fifth as they ran out K-State starter Matthys. He finished with 4.0 innings pitched, giving up six hits, five runs, walked none, and strick out one. Matthys, a former closer for the Wildcats, is now 2-4 on the season.

After Craig McConaughy was hit by a Matthys pitch, freshman Dustin Williams hit his second home run of the season as it cleared the wall in right-center field to make the score 4-1.

"Dustin has really come along and he is going to be, not just a good hitter, but he can be a great hitter," Holliday said about Williams. "It was really good to see him get a hold of that ball and drive it out."

Saulyer Saxon kept the party going with a double to right field and then shortstop Donovan Walton moved Saxon to third with a sacrifice bunt. Tanner Krietemeier drew a walk and then Gage Green slapped it back to the pitcher, but an error allowed Green to reach first safey and, more important, Saxon to score and make it 5-1.

After an intentional walk to Zach Fish, Arakawa singled through the left side of the Kansas State infield and Krietemeier scored to make it 6-1.

That would be it for the Cowboys offense, but it was enough as the Wildcats rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth but that would be the end of their scoring.

The rally was enough to run Cowboys starter Tyler Buffet out of the game as he finished with 4.0 innings pitched and giving up six hits and four runs, only three of those earned. Buffet walked four Wildcats and struck out a pair.

Bullpen ace Vince Wheeland came on and pitched a scoreless four innings while allowing only three hits and he did not walk a batter. Brendan McCurry came on to pitch the ninth and collect his 15th save of the season.

The win was the eighth in a row for Oklahioma State and the Cowboys are now 37-13 overall and prepare for the final game with Kansas State on Sunday afternoon.

"The temperature had to be 88 or something close and that turf was really hot," Holliday said afterwards. "There are some tired kids on both teams. That was a sell out and a good atmosphere.

"I have all the respect for Kansas State and I really can't see how that team is 4-16 in the Big12. We'll come back out here tomorrow to do our job and that is to try to win every game this weekend."

The Cowboys have a little scoreboard pressure as does TCU as the two teams are really the only teams left that can win the Big 12 regular season. The Horned Frogs are playing Oklahoma this weekend and when this story was posted the Sooners had blown a 5-0 lead as TCU scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. An OU win moves OSU one game ahead of TCU into sole possession of first place.

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