After a comeback win on Thursday night before a record crowd and ceremonial first pitches from former President George W. Bush and namesake Cecil O’Brate, the Oklahoma State baseball team had momentum on its side for Friday night’s game with New Orleans.
With spectacular fireworks following the Friday victory, the Cowboys hoped to match the win on Senior Night at O’Brate stadium with fireworks of their own. With a 15-1 run -ule win ending in the seventh inning, the Cowboys did not disappoint their fans.
Graduating seniors honored on Senior Night were Carson McCusker, Cade Cabbiness, Max Hewitt, Jake Thompson, Alix Garcia, Nick DeNicola, Noah Sifrit, Parker Scott, Mitchell Stone, C. J. Varela, Dylan Gardner, and Riley Metzger. The seniors were presented a framed OSU jersey by coach Josh Holliday in a ceremony before the game.
“I was pretty certain I was going to cry,” Cabbiness said about the ceremony. “I’ve cried every other year just for other guys. You know it is coming to an end,” he added.
Holliday added his thoughts about Senior Night.
“Our senior day thing is hard. I know it has a place,” Holliday said. “I felt like it is something we could celebrate private because there is so much to be said. It is a really good group. These are a high level kids getting really good degrees – they have bright futures.”
The Cowboys (31-16-1) broke on top in the bottom of the second inning. Thompson led off with an infield hit off the glove of the Privateer third baseman. After Thompson stole second, Cabbiness hit a bloop double to left field. DeNicola drew a walk to load the bases. Brock Mathis drove in two runs with a line drive double off the left field wall.
Matt Golda drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Caeden Trinkle reached first on catcher’s interference and Hewitt followed with a walk. Christian Encarnacion-Stand chased out starting pitcher Tyler LeBlanc with a sharp single to left center field driving in two runs. Thompson drove in Hewitt with his second single of the inning as the Cowboys sent 11 batters to the plate scoring six runs.
Cabbiness hit the first pitch of the third inning over the right field wall for his seventh home run of the year. DeNicola followed with a massive home run off the top of the jumbotron in left field that dropped into the Cowboys’ bullpen. Mathis was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a double by Trenkle. Mathis ran home on a ground ball Hewitt hit to first but was called out by the home plate umpire.
After a video review, Mathis was ruled safe as his hand crossed the plate before the tag was applied by the Privateer catcher. Encarnacion-Strand drove in his 63rd RBI of the year with a sharp single to right center field. Thompson followed with a sac fly. McCusker wrapped up the scoring in the inning with an RBI single to left field to bring the score to 12-0 in favor of the Cowboys.
OSU added three runs in the fourth inning when DeNicola led off with a double that bounced over the right-center field fence. Trenkle and Hewitt followed with RBI singles. Encarnacion-Strand drove in his fourth RBI of the game and his 64th of the season with his third single chasing the Privateers third pitcher and running the score to 15-0 in favor of the Pokes.
Starting pitcher Mitchell Stone shut out the Privateers for five innings, striking out five batters including striking out the side in the fourth inning. Stone did not issue a single walk.
Parker Scott returned from an injury and relieved Stone in the sixth inning surrendering one run on one hit. Brett Standlee also returned from injury and shut out the Privateers in the seventh inning striking out two batters.
“They looked pretty good. It was important to use them now and see how they respond,” Holliday said about Scott and Standlee. “Today was the right day to get them in there and get them ready for tournaments. They both looked pretty good. They are a strong shot in in the arm for us.”
OSU’s final weekend series with New Orleans left the Pokes on the sidelines as the Big 12 Conference is ending its regular season. With one conference game remaining, it is likely that Kansas and West Virginia will be seeded eighth and ninth. The eighth and ninth place teams will battle in the first ever play-in game on Tuesday at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City to determine which team stays to play in the Big 12 Conference tournament starting on Wednesday with four games.
The Cowboys are seeded in fourth place and will likely play the fifth-seeded Baylor Bears in their first game of the tournament.
The final game of the series between OSU and New Orleans is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at O’Brate stadium.