By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State University baseball team has shown the ability to come from behind this season. The Cowboys have 11 come-from-behind victories. Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, the Cowboys added another, as they overcame a four-run deficit in a 7-6 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats in front of a capacity crowd.
“We’re just scrappy,” designated hitter Trey Whaley said. “We are resilient during the game. We trusted our at-bats and it came up huge in the end.”
The Wildcats (27-13, 6-5), who were held in check by Jason Hursh on Friday, pounded seven hits and scored six runs in 2 1/3 innings, ending Mark Robinette’s start. Oklahoma State’s starter threw 57 pitches, using more than 20 in each of the first two innings. Kansas State got a RBI double by Jon Davis in the first to take a 1-0 lead. In the third, Shane Conlon hit a RBI double and Jared King and Davis hit RBI singles to push the Wildcats’ lead to 6-2.
Oklahoma State’s Saulyer Saxon said the team wasn’t affected by the slow start.
“We stayed in the dugout like it was a 0-0 game,” Saxon said. “In the dugout you couldn’t tell if the score was tied. We knew our time was going to come and eventually it did.”
After the Cowboys (27-10, 7-6) jumped all over K-State’s Friday starter, they struggled with Saturday’s pitcher Matt Wivinis. Oklahoma State was held to just three hits through four innings. In the fifth, Oklahoma State rallied.
Whaley led off with a single but was picked off at second for the second out. Donnie Walton and Tanner Krietemeier walked to load the bases. Randy McCurry hit what looked like a routine groundout but Kansas State’s shortstop Austin Fisher overthrew second baseman Ross Kivet, sending the ball into the outfield and allowing two more runs to score.
After the Wildcats struck early in the game, they were held in check by Kenton Bevacqua who pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. The lefthander scattered four hits and struck out two. Vince Wheeland continued the effort, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the last 2 2/3 innings.
“The story was Kenton Bevacqua’s middle relief,” coach Josh Holliday said. “We were down and he kept us in the game and gave us time to catch back up.”
“(Bevacqua) struggled lately,” Whaley said. “He came out today and felt his stuff and trusted his pitches. I was glad to see that.”
Toward the later innings, some of the crowd from the spring football game came in and packed the ballpark. Holliday said that had a major impact on the team.
“When people make you feel what you are doing is important, it increases the responsibility your players feel to honor tradition and live up to expectations,” Holliday said.
In the bottom of the eighth, catcher Victor Romero reached after he was hit by a Gerardo Esquivel pitch. It looked like Kansas State was going to escape as Robbie Rea bounced a bunt that resulted in a double play. Zach Fish fell behind 1-2 in the count but quickly turned the momentum in Oklahoma State’s favor as he blasted a game-tying home run over the left-center field fence.
“I wasn’t just trying to get on base,” Fish said. “We needed a rally to start at that point. I wasn’t just looking for a pitch I could drive. I was looking for a pitch that was up and something that I could get a hold of.”
Whaley followed with his third hit of the game with a double to right field. Jarrett Higgins replaced him as a pinch runner. Corey Hassel followed with a walk. Leadoff hitter Saxon hit the third pitch of the bat through the hole between short and third for a single. Higgins’ hustled home, narrowly beating the throw to give Oklahoma State the lead.
“I’m proud of Trey for hanging in there,” Holliday said. “The beginning of the season, he didn’t get many at-bats and it wasn’t going well for him. He and I had several conversations about staying positive and staying with it and his time would come. When he has got his time he has done a nice job with it.”
The Cowboys will go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday.