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OSU Baseball: Cowboys Roll Over Michigan

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Oklahoma State opened its final regular season series with a 12-2 win over Michigan Thursday night at Ray Fisher Stadium.

Michael Freeman continued his dominance on the mound, and Conor Costello led the Cowboys' offense with three RBIs to help lift the 13th-ranked Cowboys to 33-16 on the season. Michigan fell to 32-22.

“It was a really well-played game all the way around, and it starts on the mound,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “Mike (Freeman) settled in and pitched another beautiful game, we played really good defense and on offense we were pretty darn good and in position to score just about every inning.

“Awfully good team win. I was proud of the way the kids responded and had really good energy. And I was happy to get every single position player on the roster in the game. That's important because there's a lot of kids that work hard every single day to get better, support the team and provide us with depth and teammate-ship and all the things that go into a team.”

Freeman was magnificent as the senior southpaw worked eight innings and struck out eight while allowing only five hits, all singles, to the top hitting team in the Big 10 Conference. The only run UM plated against Freeman came with two outs in the eighth inning and was unearned as he lowered his season ERA to 1.06 and improved to 9-2 on the year.

“Sometimes when Mike pitches he has an amazing way of putting the other team in a spell, where they just get a little discouraged and don't go to home plate with quite as much confidence because they aren't quite sure what to do with it,” Holliday said.

OSU gave its ace plenty of support as the Cowboys struck for three runs in their first at bat against Michigan lefty Evan Hill, getting RBIs from Corey Hassel and David Petrino to take command early.

After issuing singles to the first two Wolverines he faced in the bottom of the first, Freeman pitched out of the jam and then settled in and did not allow another hit until the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys put the game away in the sixth and seventh innings as they struck for eight runs during that span.

Leading 4-0 after five frames, a two-out RBI double by Tim Arakawa provided OSU's fifth run before Conor Costello blasted his sixth home run of the season, tying him for the team lead, to push the Pokes' lead to 7-0.

In the seventh, Holliday's ballclub rallied for five runs, collecting just two hits but drawing four walks. The Cowboys finished with 11 walks in the game, with three of those issued to Jacob Chappell, including an RBI pass with the bases loaded in the seventh.

“Those walks are earned; that's not the other team not being able to throw strikes, that's our kids not giving in,” Holliday said. “Getting walks is on that positive side of the ledger in terms of what good teams do and what good team offense is built on. We continue to be very disciplined in building innings and giving guys chances to bring guys home. That's a big part of a winning baseball team.

“They may pitch around you or nibble and not give you a great pitch to hit because they don't want you to break it open, but if you repeatedly take your walks, eventually they're going to have to come over the plate. And then we had some guys that were able to light it up.”

Arakawa, Costello and Hassel paced the OSU attack with two hits apiece, with Costello and Hassel picking up multiple RBIs.

The two teams return to action Friday at 5 p.m. (CST).

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