By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Josh Holliday wanted his Oklahoma State baseball squad to use the midweek series with Alcorn State to improve from the mistakes made during a weekend series win over No. 21 New Mexico.
And while the Cowboys rolled to doubleheader sweep of the Braves, it was far from perfect following the big road win.
“We didn't play good defense. We made way too many mistakes — mistakes that we're better than,” Holliday said of his squad that committed five errors in the series. “We didn’t run the bases particularly well, either. Those are two areas that are fundamental places that you take a lot of pride in and are things you've got to keep on working on.
“We certainly continue to have that list of things where we have to get better, but we did get some timely hits, we pitched well and we won two games — which any time you go out for 18 innings and get two wins, I don't care who you are playing or what the circumstance is, that's a good day.”
One area OSU did see improvement in was the starting pitching. After struggling on the mound against the Lobos, the Cowboys got two quality starts from sophomore Jon Perrin and senior Kenton Bevacqua.
Perrin pitched the opener, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run and striking out five to pick up his first career win — the Cowboys rolled to an 11-3 victory. In the nightcap, Bevacqua was tested with OSU's offense coming out cold. The senior starter went 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run and striking out five to earn the win in the 8-1 victory.
“What we did do well tonight was we pitched well. Both Jon Perrin and Kenton Bevacqua both pitched really well and gave us two great starts,” Holliday said. “That was big for us because we came off a weekend where our Saturday and Sunday starts weren't exactly what we were hoping for. So to get two great starts was a step in the right direction. And we got good relief pitching out of Kyle Gehrs, once again from (Mark) Robinette and it was good to get Reid Barnett in there.”
Oklahoma State blasted the Braves in the opener with Robbie Rea, who came hitting 2 for 13, got a big three-run, two-out triple in the bottom of the first to set the tone.
It wouldn't be the only clutch two-out hit of the night. In the second game of the doubleheader, Trey Whaley gave OSU some breathing room in the seventh inning with a three-run, two-out pinch-hit home run into the net above the left field wall.
While Rea and Whaley delivered knockout punches, OSU first baseman Tanner Krietemeier, a junior college transfer from Iowa Western Community College, continued to prove to be invaluable in the heart of the Cowboy lineup.
A day after earning Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Week honors thanks to a big series against UNM, Krietemeier carried over his hot start, going 5 for 9 with four RBIs in the twinbill.
“Tanner keeps crushing the ball. He's been huge for us,” Holliday said. “... He had a great fall and has picked up from where he left off in the fall. He gave us reason to think that this was a possibility.”
With the Cowboys far from being the perfect team they will need for conference play in the middle of March, they will get a chance to continue to hone their talent this weekend with a three-game home series against New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“We've just got to try to fix the mistakes that we've been making,” Krietemeier said. “We've got to try to perfect our game, all around, and not look at the name on the jersey of the opponent but just play the best we can.”