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OSU Blisters Bulls To Open NCAA Tourney, 9-2

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DELAND, Florida -

Oklahoma State baseball pulled off an impressive win over South Florida Friday, 9-2, in their NCAA tourney opener in DeLand, Florida.

With the win, the Cowboys improved to 30-24-1 on the season and advanced to a winner’s bracket game to face either Stetson/Hartford on Saturday at 6 p.m. (CST). The victory was OSU’s first in the NCAA Tournament since 2016, and the Pokes improved to 14-10 in the tourney under head coach Josh Holliday.

“It was a very good game – our kids played a very complete game today,” Holliday said. “An excellent job on the mound, we played good defense and on offense we got contributions from up and down the lineup…

“A good team win, and a lot of kids gave us great effort. It was a nice warm, challenging day to play baseball, and it had a championship feel to it from the standpoint of the way the game went. I’m very proud of our kids and feel good about what we did.”

OSU racked up a season-high 15 hits against USF (35-21-1) as the first eight Cowboys in the lineup each collected at least one hit, with six of those collecting multiple hits. Colin Simpson led the way with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, while Jon Littell and Christian Funk both drove in two runs.

Carson Teel picked up the win in relief of starter Reza Aleaziz as the southpaw improved to 8-4 on the season. The junior worked the final six innings and allowed just one run on five hits. Aleaziz gave up one run on two hits in his three-inning effort.

USF took the game’s initial lead when Chris Chatfield led off the second with an opposite-field home run off Aleaziz, with Chatfield’s fourth homer of the season putting the Bulls up 1-0.

The Cowboys were not down long, however. Michael Neustifter led off the third with a single and took second on an error by USF right fielder Garrett Zech. Three batters later, Andrew Rosa delivered a two-out RBI double to the gap in left-center field to tie the game at 1-1.

The game remained even until the fifth when Carson McCusker led off with his eighth home run of the season, a blast over the wall in center field that gave the Pokes a 2-1 advantage.

A three-run rally would extend the OSU lead in the sixth. Funk got things started with a two-run blast to right field, his seventh round tripper of the season. Trevor Boone then followed with a single before stealing second and scoring on an RBI single by Neustifter to put the Cowboys up 5-1.

USF plated its lone run off Teel in the seventh to cut its deficit to three, but the Cowboys put the game away with a four-run rally in their final at bat.

Matt Kroon drove in the first run in the ninth with a single before a two-out, two-RBI double just inside the left field line by Littell pushed the lead to 8-2. The Pokes plated their final run on an RBI single by Boone.

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