By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
With a wind chill below freezing, Oklahoma State and Wichita State couldn’t decided a winner at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in the usual nine innings. The two teams put in an extra two frames before Zach Fish delivered a walk-off double to give OSU a 6-5 victory.
“It was a clutch hit. I thought that game was never going to end,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said following a game that was 10 minutes shy of going four hours. “I’m just glad it ended in our favor and that was just clutch from Zach.”
Oklahoma State tied things up in the bottom of the third thanks to Stillwater High alum Corey Hassel. The OSU freshman led off with a single back through the box and after being sacrificed to second came around to score on an RBI double by Saulyer Saxon.
Tanner Krietemeier gave the Cowboys a lead with a two-out, RBI triple to score Saxon for Krietemeier’s team-leading 33rd run batted in. OSU got one more run in the inning thanks to error by Wichita State pitcher Kris Gardner, who tried to catch Robbie Rea stealing second but threw the ball into center field to allow Krietemeier to walk home.
The Cowboys scored again in the fourth with lead-off hitter Victor Romero reaching base by being hit by a pitch. After a stolen base on a hit-and-run attempt, Donnie Walton plated Romero with a single up the middle.
Wichita State chipped away at the deficit with a run in the fifth and squared it at 4 on a two-run triple by Tyler Baker, which made it to the wall when Zach Fish slipped on the wet grass when trying to field the hit. The first pitch to Stillwater High graduate Parker Zimmerman was in the dirt and allowed Baker to score on a wild pitch.
Holliday turned to closer Brendan McCurry in the seventh and the junior from Tupelo delivered big for the Pokes. McCurry, the younger brother of Randy McCurry who was sidelined with a sprained ankle, went the final 5 1/3 innings, giving up just two hits and issuing one walk while facing 18 batters.
“The story of the game was Brendan McCurry pitching outstanding relief and keeping us in the game — letting us overcome some of our mistakes,” Holliday said. “... He pitched 5 1/3 on 59 pitches, which is remarkable. That’s 10 pitches an inning and we probably actually needed it. He never got in the danger zone and he was efficient.”
Oklahoma State squared things up in the eighth on an infield hit by Zach Fish, who beat the throw by the shortstop, coupled with heads up base running by Krietemeier, who was waved home by third base coach Marty Lees. Krietemeier had reached on a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball.
“That was a huge play. Great base running on the play,” Holliday said. “With two outs, you get a big lead and great coaching by Marty to bring him and then great hustle by Zach to beat the throw. So you score on a ball that never left the infield, but that’s what hustle can do.”
Wichita State caught some breaks in the top of the 12th with an infield single on a chopper just over the head of Robbie Rea, who was playing in at third. It was followed by a flyball to right field that through miscommunication, landed in the middle of three Cowboys to give the Shockers two runners with no outs.
McCurry escaped the inning unscathed, however, by inducing a double play and a groundout to second.
Krietemeier led off the bottom half of the frame with a single to left field and stole second to set up Fish for a second RBI opportunity late in the game — with Fish delivering once again.
“I always get excited when we have a guy on second or a guy in scoring position, to come up with the game on the line is huge,” Fish said. “I didn’t come through on Sunday, which I should have ... so tonight was really about battling and coming through when the team needed me most.”