Stillwater News Press

May 3, 2014

Cowboys rally once again for 6-5 victory over Sun Devils

By Andrew Glover
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — The No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys have shown they can rally from behind all season. Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, with two outs in the ninth, Tim Arakawa hit a ground ball single to left to tie the game and Donnie Walton hit a walk-off single with two outs in the 11th to secure a 6-5 victory over 26th-ranked Arizona State.

“They pick each other up and we had to do that today,” coach Josh Holiday said. “There were moments there in the course of 11 innings that we made some mistakes. We turned right back around and kept going.”

Arizona State (24-19) took the lead early. David Greer tripled to the gap in right-center field — driving in Johnny Sewald who was hit by a pitch. Tanner Krietemeier wasn’t able to field a hard ground ball at first that allowed Greer to score. The Sun Devils added a run in the top of the third on a double play with the bases loaded, to hold a 3-0 advantage.

The Cowboys’ defense took on a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. It committed four errors — including an overthrew by senior Craig McConaughy that scored two for the Sun Devils and gave them a 5-3 lead in the seventh.

Oklahoma State (34-13) also turned three double plays — including one in the top of the third with the bases loaded and none out. Walton said they just step up when one side of their game is struggling.

“When you fail at the plate, there is something you can do on the defensive side,” Walton said. “If it’s not going good at the plate bring your glove.”

The Cowboys got back into the game in the bottom of the fourth — thanks to their seniors, starting with a two-run blast to left field by Krietemeier. McConaughy hit a RBI double to tie the game with Arakawa scoring on the play. OSU tagged the Sun Devils starter Ryan Kellogg for three runs on 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Kellogg struck out four in a no-decision.

“We faced Kellogg who was an All-American last year,” Holliday said. “(Ryan) Burr the closer for Team USA. We were going against the best and the kids are finding ways to stay in the moment and finding ways to win.”

After Arizona State retook the lead, Oklahoma State rallied for a run in the bottom of the eighth. Krietemeier scored on a single by Arakawa. OSU had chances to tie or take the lead with the bases loaded and one out. Gage Green and Walton struck out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Zach Fish led off with a walk. Corey Hassel pinch hit for Conor Costello and moved Ryan Sluder, who ran for Fish to second. Krietemeier struck out and Saulyer Saxon fell behind 1-2 when the next pitch went past the catcher — allowing Sluder to reach third. Saxon battled to draw a walk. That’s when Arakawa came up with a ground ball single to left to tie the game.

 The Cowboys looked like they were in position to win the game as the first three batters walked. Sluder grounded into a fielder’s choice that got Robie Rojas thrown out at the plate. Garrett Williams and Krietemeier struck out.

In the 11th, Oklahoma State loaded the bases again with no outs. Saxon was hit by a pitch, Arakawa followed with a single and Saxon advanced to third. A bad throw by ASU’s Trever Allen let Arakawa reach second. McConaughy was intentionally walked to load the bases. Andrew Rosa and Gage Green struck out. That set up Walton for the game winner.

Walton took a strike and then looked at a ball, before lining the next pitch to left field and ASU’s Jake Peevyhouse couldn’t hold on — allowing Saxon to score easily.

“I had a chance earlier in the game when I could have ended it or changed something and struck out,” Walton said. “Coach always said the game comes around to you and you have to keep going. I got a good pitch to hit and got a good swing on it.”

Vince Wheeland pitched the last 4 1/3 innings and retired the last nine batters he faced to earn the win. The senior was one of four pitchers that took the mound and said the bullpen did awesome.

“Energy feeds off one another,” Wheeland said. “When you get done, you hand someone the ball on the mound and have the same amount of trust as they did when you were on the mound.”

Freshman Tyler Buffett got the start and only last two innings. Fellow freshmen Blake Battenfield and Trey Cobb pitched the next 4 2/3 innings and only gave up one earned run. Cobb was responsible for two unearned runs on McConaughy’s error. Holliday said a lot of people stepped up to win the ball game.

“We threw three freshmen on the mound and the young guys did a nice job for us. ... Donovan (Walton) is a sophomore that plays like a veteran. He’s a terrific shortstop and clutch hitter. Tim had a heck of a day. He’s been an excellent performer these past three games.”

Eder Erives took the loss for the Sun Devils in 2/3 inning. Ryan Burr was charged with a blown save in 2 2/3 innings.

Oklahoma State will look to complete the series sweep at noon Sunday.