Oklahoma State picked up its third Big 12 Conference series win of the season Sunday as an eight-run third inning lifted the 25th-ranked Cowboys to an 11-7 victory over No. 4 TCU at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The win marked OSU’s seventh over a ranked opponent this season and was also the fourth time this season the Cowboys tallied double-digit runs as they improved to 25-14 overall and 9-6 in conference play. TCU fell to 28-10 and 10-5 in the league.
“I’m just really proud of these kids,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “They showed a lot of determination and grit out there today. I think TCU is the best team we’ve played. They’re just hard to get out.
“The way the game played out, it was a great win. I’m extremely proud of the kids right now, and we’ll continue to navigate an awfully difficult stretch (of games) that we’re in.”
In the home half of the third, OSU broke a scoreless game open as the Cowboys’ offense erupted for eight runs — their highest total in any inning this season — on six hits to take command.
Conor Costello got the Cowboys started in the inning as he singled into right field for OSU’s first hit of the contest. After Collin Theroux drew a walk and J.R. Davis singled on a bunt down the third base line, OSU had the bases loaded with nobody out. Two batters later, Donnie Walton was hit by the first pitch he saw, bringing home the first run of the game.
Looking to add to the lead, Colin Simpson smoked a ball to second base and beat the throw to first, scoring Theroux from third. Following Simpson, Dustin Williams brought in two more runs as he lined a 1-0 pitch into left field and doubled OSU’s lead to 4-0.
Ryan Sluder would replicate Williams’ at bat as the junior lined his own 1-0 pitch into left field to score Simpson from second. OSU batted around in the inning, and in his second trip to the plate, Costello blasted a three-run home run to left field to put the Cowboys up 8-0 after three innings.
“(Costello) showed in that one inning, with a leadoff base hit and a massive three-run homer, why he’s a difference maker,” Holliday said. “We’ve been trying to get him back to health and resume his pitching role, which could be a difference maker with the types of midweek games we have left.”
TCU’s Dane Steinhagen got the Horned Frogs on the board in the top of the fourth as he launched a ball over the center field wall, but the Cowboys quickly responded one inning later.
Williams was the first Cowboy to reach base in the fifth as he drew a five-pitch walk, which was followed shortly by a Sluder single into left field. TCU’s Josh Watson couldn’t field the ball cleanly as Williams and Sluder ended up on second and third with only one out.
After that, Theroux lined an 0-1 pitch through the left side of the infield to bring two more Cowboys across the plate as the OSU lead grew to 10-1.
In the sixth inning, OSU right-hander Jensen Elliott loaded the bases and surrendered his second run of the contest after Connor Wanhanen grounded into a fielder’s choice. Remey Reed then came on in relief of Elliott with runners on the corner and only one out.
Reed’s first pitch was lined to left center by Steinhagen, bringing home another run for the Horned Frogs. A wild pitch and sacrifice fly brought two more runners home as TCU cut the OSU lead to 10-5.
The Horned Frogs added one more run in the seventh off of OSU’s Tyler Buffett, but in the home half of the inning the Cowboys got the run right back as Williams blasted his ninth home run of the season and first since April 3.
Buffett pitched the final three frames of the contest and picked up his seventh save, while Elliott earned his fifth win and improved to 5-2 on the season after working 5 1/3 innings and striking out five.
Offensively, Williams, Sluder and Costello led the way for the Cowboys as the trio combined to go 7-for-10 at the plate with seven RBIs and two home runs among them. The Cowboys tallied 12 hits total in the ballgame, which included a single in the bottom of the eighth from Walton to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
Next up, the Cowboys travel to Fayetteville, Ark. on Tuesday for the second matchup of the season against Arkansas, a team they defeated 5-4 on March 29 in Stillwater.