By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State got some solid situational hitting in a 9-2 rout of Kansas State in Friday’s series opener at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
Of the nine runs scored by the Cowboys, six were plated with two outs recorded — three in the first and three in the third.
“We put some good at-bats together with two outs. There’s a lot of plays we didn’t make and can still fix — on the base path,” OSU third baseman Robbie Rea said. “In general, we still have a long ways to go, but it’s good to see those two-out hits come into play and we can build on those for momentum heading into (Saturday).”
Though Rea wasn’t necessarily a key contributor during the big rallies in the early innings — though he did have a sacrifice fly that scored Randy McCurry in the third — he did have some big plate appearances later in the game. The senior infielder from Topeka, Kan., hit home runs in consecutive at-bats in the fifth and seventh innings — both of the solo variety — with Oklahoma State already up big on the Wildcats.
“That’s the most I’ve had to run in a long time,” Rea joked. “It was good though. I’ve been struggling as of late and all week have been working with coach (Rob) Walton and coach Holliday, just going back to the basics and trying to figure out all the little pieces in the swing. It was good to see some results today.”
With the offense clicking, the Cowboys were complemented with much needed solid start from Friday ace Jason Hursh. After losing his last three starts, Hursh went seven innings, struck out seven and gave up just two runs on 11 hits and two walks.
“It was just me trying to do too much, I think. Starting Big 12 play, I just wasn’t trusting myself, maybe lacking a little confidence,” Hursh said. “It felt good to just go out there and trust my stuff and throw the pitches I know I can throw and get a good win out of it.”
The biggest positive from Hursh on Friday was his gumption when he found himself with his back against the wall. In the early innings, the Wildcats were able to get some runners on, but Hursh — and the defense behind him — were able to walk away unscathed.
In the top of the first, Kansas State — which leads the conference in most offensive statistical categories, including batting average (.333), on base percentage (.411), slugging percentage (.466) and runs (258) — loaded the bases with no outs, but aided by a double play, Hursh and Oklahoma State held the Wildcats off the board.
“Most of the momentum of that game was won in the first inning when we pitched out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a double play then answered with four runs of our own,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “We continued to make double plays to erase a couple of building innings that they had where they had runners in scoring position to possibly make a run back at us. The double play ball, a couple clutch base hits, then we continued to score as the game went along with a couple solo homers to separate ourselves.”
The two teams will square off again Saturday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.