OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State will have to wait until Monday morning to learn of its NCAA Tournament fate.
The Cowboys fell to TCU, 10-7, missing out on a chance to lock up a guaranteed spot in the NCAA Tournament. They are expected to be an at-large bid, but they won’t know until the selection show Monday.
“I’m proud of the effort of our team since we got here on Wednesday,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “I saw a lot of character on display. I’ve seen a lot of that out of this group of kids, in particular over the last two months. Even if we didn’t win this tournament, we’ve got great momentum heading into next week.”
TCU freshman Porter Brown, who was selected as the tournament’s most outstanding player, broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Brown recorded his second hit of the game, and ran his RBI total to five on the night. He drilled a ball to the left-center field gap, clearing the bases and pushing TCU ahead 8-5.
The Horned Frogs added two more runs in the inning, taking a 10-5 lead. The first of those came on a sacrifice fly to right field before a wild pitch scored another run.
OSU battled back with a Caeden Trenkle solo home run in the top of the seventh inning. One inning later, Cade Cabbiness hit a double before later scoring on a Matt Golda RBI single, trimming the TCU lead to three runs.
In the ninth inning, OSU’s Christian Encarnacion-Strand hit a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. However, a pair of strikeouts ended the game.
“Our team did a nice job of playing into the finals,” Holliday said. “Obviously tonight TCU was a little too much for us. They’re a very good team. They have a very deep lineup and a number of power arms. It was a little bit of a struggle to keep them under control, especially in the middle innings. That’s a compliment to them. They have good plate discipline. They’re very athletic. They’re a tough team to control. There’s a reason they’re one of the top eight teams in the league in my opinion.”
After TCU posted two runs in the bottom of the second inning, the Cowboys responded with five of their own in the next half inning. Those five runs came on two swings of the bat, and were aided by a pair of TCU fielding errors.
The first came on a leadoff grounder by Golda that was botched by TCU second baseman Gray Rodgers. It allowed Golda to reach first.
Following a pair of strikeouts, Encarnacion-Strand was hit by a pitch and Jake Thompson was walked, loading the bases for Carson McCusker. The fifth-year senior hit a hard-chopping grounder that bounced off the glove of TCU shortstop Tommy Sacco and rolled into the grass.
Golda and Encarnacion-Strand scored, tying the game at 2-2. Two pitches later, another OSU fifth-year senior gave the Cowboys a 5-2 lead. Cabbiness drilled a 0-1 pitch to nearly the deepest part of the park for a three-run home run. It was his eighth home run of the season.
TCU answered back with a two-run home run by Phillip Sikes. It was his 11th of the season, and it trimmed the Cowboys’ lead to one run after three innings.
TCU won its first Big 12 Conference Baseball Tournament since 2016. Both teams await their NCAA Tournament fate Monday. The selection show will begin at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.
TCU was one of three Big 12 schools – along with Texas and Texas Tech – that was announced as an NCAA Regional site on Sunday night. The full bracket will be released Monday morning.
“We woke up this morning coming to play for a title,” Holliday said. “Getting in this position is hard. Winning it is even harder. Don’t mistake our positivity for thinking we’re OK with losing. No, we’re not, but you can’t ignore the fact that this is a step in the journey into the postseason and I like where we’re at. I like our chances next week.”