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Cowboys Roll On Opening Day

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Oklahoma State opened the 2014 season Friday with a 10-5 win over Incarnate Word in the UTA/Hilton Invitational at Clay Gould Ballpark.

Tanner Krietemeier and Zach Fish combined for six RBIs, and Alex Hackerott earned the win in relief as the 18th-ranked Cowboys' won in come-from-behind fashion in a game that saw 11 different players make their OSU debut.

"The good thing is that 10-5 (win) in the end," said OSU coach Josh Holliday. "Like every first game, we were a little aggressive, a little jumpy wanting to do too much. By about the fourth or fifth inning, we started settling in, and each inning you felt like there was a chance to score.

"Even though the game got tight at the end, this is the type of team where we really trust a lot of guys. There are so many new faces and some of the position battles are still very close. It was important to get a lot of guys in because come tomorrow they may be in there. I was proud of a lot of new guys getting involved, and you also go back to your old faithfuls like Tanner Krietemeier and Zach Fish to get us going."

Incarnate Word took an early 1-0 lead against OSU starter Mark Robinette with an unearned run in its first at bat on a single by Jesse Hoover.

OSU tied the score on an RBI single by Krietemeier in the third, but the Cardinals regained the lead with another unearned run in the fourth and then had runners on the corners with two outs.

That's when the Cowboys called on Hackerott out of the bullpen, and the sophomore southpaw quickly put an end to the rally by striking out Mark Whitehead on three pitches.

Over the next three-plus innings, Hackerott allowed just one run on two hits while tying a career high with four strikeouts. In doing so, he earned his second-career win.

"The story of the game was Alex Hackerott coming in a jam and pitching out of it," Holliday said. "We were on the wrong side of the scoreboard at the time, and he gave us a chance to come back and get back in it.

"Alex was really good. On a windy day to left field, he kept the ball down and kept it away from their bigger, stronger guys. He gave our offense a chance to relax and settle in."

In the bottom of the fourth, Aaron Cornell delivered a bases loaded sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2-2, and in the fifth, it was solo home runs from Krietemeier and Conor Costello that gave the Cowboys their first lead of the day.

The Cowboys' bats really came alive in the seventh as OSU rallied for five runs on four hits. Gage Green got things started with an RBI single, and Krietemeier's third RBI of the day, this one on another single, made the score 7-2. Up next, Fish stepped to the plate and crushed a three-run home run over the wall in left field to put the Pokes up by seven.

Both teams scored a run in the eighth before UIW made things interesting in the ninth. In their final at bat, the Cardinals loaded the bases with one out off OSU freshman Trey Cobb before Michael Freeman came on to retire the next two batters and secure the win for the Cowboys.

OSU returns to action Saturday against Stephen F. Austin. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.

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