Saxon, Cowboys Win In Bottom Of Ninth

Saxon, Cowboys Win In Bottom Of Ninth

TULSA – Saulyer Saxon may only stand 5-foot-7 and weigh 163 pounds but he epitomizes everything that Josh Holliday likes about his Oklahoma State baseball team. The senior's chopper up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed Craig McConaughy to score the winning run from second base as No. 6 OSU defeated Oklahoma 2-1 before a crowd of 8,391 Friday night at ONEOK Field.

The infield single and subsequent mishandling of the ball by OU second baseman Kolbey Carpenter allowed McConaughy to score as the Cowboys won their 12th game in a row to clinch the school's first Big 12 regular season conference title since 1996, Gary Ward's last season as head coach when OSU won the Big Eight Conference crown.

The Cowboys improve to 41-13 overall and 18-5 in the Big 12, while OU is now 27-27 and 7-16 entering Saturday night's third and final game of the Bedlam series.

Saxon had a Bedlam game that he'll remember for years to come. In addition to getting two of only five hits by the Cowboys Friday night, he made a pair of diving catches in centerfield – one in the third inning to rob OU's Hector Lorenzana of a hit and then for the third out in the top of the ninth inning to set up OSU's game-winning rally.

"I was playing pretty deep and it kind of kept carrying toward me and Conor (Costello) did a good job of noticing and told me to take it, take it, so I knew he wasn't going to run over me. So I felt pretty comfortable and I was going to lay out for it and see what happened, and I was able to come up with it," Saxon said of his diving catch in the ninth inning.

"Saul is a ball player. He finds ways to make good things happen. He brings with him some karma that is pretty valuable."

The Cowboys senior from Shawnee, Okla., was behind in the count to OU reliever Jeffrey Curran when he bounced the ball up the middle. Carpenter attempted to make the play but had trouble grabbing the ball, and OSU third base coach Marty Lees didn't hesitate in sending McConaughy home with the winning run.

"I was in a hole with two strikes, and I was just trying to put the ball in play and make something happened, and it happened," said Saxon.

Holliday says Saxon is a winner.

"Saul is a ball player. He finds ways to make good things happen. He brings with him some karma that is pretty valuable," said Holliday. "Maybe it's the experience, maybe it's the grit, maybe it's just the personality, but you just feel a sense of confidence when Saul is up there (at the plate). He's done it before and he knows in his heart that he can do it again. I think confidence plays a big part in this game, and Saul is a confident player and everyone in our uniform believes in him."

But it was more than just Saxon who came through Friday night for the Cowboys, who improved to 11-0 in one-run games this season.

Freshman Tyler Buffett only allowed four hits and no runs in seven innings as he struck out a career high six while walking just one. It was the best outing of his college career.

Sophomore Donnie Walton was 1-for-3 from the plate but that one hit was a big one. The switch-hitting shortstop was batting from the left side against OU starter Jake Elliott when he turned on an inside fastball and pulled it over the fence just inside the right-field foul pole to give the Cowboys a 1-0 lead.

"He was battling up there … I think it was a fastball inside that he just caught real quick with his hands, and he took advantage of this unique park, (and) found a nice corner. It was a great swing that gave us some breathing room," Holliday said of Walton's homer, his third of the season.

Buffett, the freshman from Albuquerque, N.M., was impressive in pitching before the partisan Cowboys crowd in Tulsa.

"I think he threw the ball tonight with as much aggression and confidence as he has all year," Holliday said. "I thought he handled the stage awfully well.

"I've seen this coming for awhile. He's been getting better, but I think this is the most consistent he's been. He pitched against a team that I think can really challenge a pitcher in many ways, and he handled it beautifully. I think his composure and his confidence were at an all-time high. … but he had great defense behind him. Saul made two great plays, Donnie (Walton) made some tremendous plays."

The Cowboys and Sooners play the final contest in the three-game series at 7 Saturday night at ONEOK Field in Tulsa.

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