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Cowboys Walk Off Against St. Johns

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Tim Arakawa's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Oklahoma State a 5-4 walk-off win over St. John's in the opening round of the NCAA Stillwater Regional Friday night in front of 3,573 fans at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

With the win, the top-seeded Cowboys improve to 38-18 and advance to Saturday's winner's bracket game against No. 2-seed Arkansas (36-22) at 6 p.m.

Arakawa's heroics came with one out and the bases loaded in a 4-4 game. The senior second baseman ripped an 0-2 pitch from SJU closer Thomas Hackimer into right-center field to lift the 11th-ranked Cowboys to the win.

“I was just trying to win the pitch; Josh (Holliday) preaches all the time, ‘Win the pitch,'” Arakawa said. “You're down 0-2, you don't want to try and do too much. If you win the pitch, no matter what the outcome is, it's going to happen. And luckily the outcome was in our favor.

“It's up there, definitely (with my best baseball moments). This atmosphere that we just played in front of, with Allie P. sold out, basically, just roaring — that's what you live for as a kid. That's the kind of baseball games you want to be a part of. To be able to walk off in the ninth inning before a crowd like that, in front of fans like that, that's everything you want. I was just trying to fight. The ball ended up over the plate, and I was able to get a good barrel on it.”

Added OSU head coach Josh Holliday, “That was a great college baseball game, what you'd expect to see this time of year from two teams playing for the spirit of what we're about, playing for a championship. You saw a lot of spirit and fight in both teams. I think St. John's is a very good team. They proved tonight what we've all said, they're much better than a four seed. A really good team. A lot of respect for them….

“Can't thank our fans enough for providing us the energy late in the game. That's why you fight hard to be in position to host regionals, so when you walk out on that field in the bottom of the ninth inning in a Regional setting, you have your colors and your people cheering for you.”

In a game that was tight throughout, OSU scored runs in each of the first two innings to take the early lead. A sacrifice fly by Donnie Walton plated the Cowboys' first run, and Bryan Case gave the home team a 2-0 lead in the second on an RBI sacrifice bunt by Bryan Case.

However, St. John's (39-15) tied things up in the third thanks to some shaky OSU defense. The Red Storm took advantage of two errors by Walton at shortstop and scored runs on an RBI fielder's choice by Michael Donadio and an RBI groundout by Matt Harris to knot the score at 2-2.

OSU regained the lead in its next at bat. Gage Green collected one of his career-high four hits in the game with a leadoff single and was followed by a single from Corey Hassel. After a sacrifice bunt by Walton, Dustin Williams brought Green home with the go-ahead run on an RBI groundout to make it 3-2.

That score remained until the fifth as St. John's tied things up again when Robert Wayman ripped a solo home run to left field. The blast marked the only earned run the Red Storm scored in the contest.

With the game tied 3-3, the Cowboys once again answered in the bottom of the inning. And it was déjà vu for OSU as Green got things started with a leadoff single, and Williams brought home a run with an RBI groundout to give Holliday's club a one-run advantage.

After 6 2/3 strong innings in which he allowed just one earned run and five hits while striking out four, OSU starter Jon Perrin was pulled after issuing a pair of two-out walks in the seventh. Trey Cobb came out of the bullpen and uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners into scoring position before a walk loaded the bases. But Cobb rose to the occasion by striking out Harris to get out of the jam.

The Cowboys clung to the one-run lead until the ninth when SJU rallied to tie the score. After a leadoff single and sac bunt, pinch runner Ty Blankmeyer moved to third on a passed ball. Then with runners on the corner and one out following a hit-by-pitch, Donadio brought home the tying run with a fielder's choice RBI before Cobb escaped further damage with an inning-ending strikeout.

Tied 4-4, Green led off the bottom of the ninth with a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a single and advanced to second on the play when SJU third baseman Robbie Knightes made a throwing error. Up next, Hassel was hit by a pitch, and a walk to Walton loaded the bases with no outs.

Williams would strike out for the first out of the inning, bringing up Arakawa, who laced a shot into the gap to set off a Cowboys' celebration.

Cobb earned the win on the mound to improve to 5-1 as he worked the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out three.

Along with Green's four-hit night, the Cowboys got multi-hit efforts from Hassel, Arakawa, Case and Ryan Sluder.

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