Oklahoma State clinched a Bedlam Series win Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark as the 19th-ranked Cowboys knocked off No. 13 Oklahoma, 4-3, in front of 7,108 fans.
With its third-straight Big 12 Conference series win, OSU moved into third place in the conference standings at 12-8 while continuing to maintain the league's best record at 36-12.
Tyler Nurdin won his third consecutive start for the Cowboys, outdueling OU ace Jonathan Gray, while Brendan McCurry worked the final 2 2/3 innings for his team-leading seventh save.
The Cowboys tagged Gray, who is projected to be a top-five overall pick in June's Major League Baseball Draft, for three runs on six hits in five innings of work and handed the hard-throwing righty just his second loss of the season as he fell to 8-2.
"It's tough when you're facing a pitcher (Gray) like we faced today – my gosh, that guy is pretty special," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "You want to be aggressive, but you don't want to be silly because getting opportunities against a guy that talented, you've got to be smart about those opportunities.
"Our approach is to try and be aggressive in the box, compete with him and match him each pitch if we could. Our kids did an amazing job of that. To get a pitcher of that caliber out of the game after five innings is all we could have hoped for… I'm proud of the way these guys competed – a heck of a job."
OSU jumped out to a two-run lead in the second. Randy McCurry was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Victor Romero followed with an RBI double to make it 1-0. After two strikeouts, Robbie Rea delivered a triple to plate the Cowboys' second run.
In the fifth, three-straight two-out singles, the final one an RBI off the bat of Randy McCurry, pushed the OSU lead to 3-0.
Spotted a three-run advantage, Nurdin cruised early, retiring the first 11 Sooners in order before issuing a two-out walk in the fourth. The Sooners' first hit came in the fifth, a leadoff single by Hector Lorenzana, and OU finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth.
In that inning, OU loaded the bases with one out before Nurdin got a strikeout. The Cowboys then called on Vince Wheeland out of the bullpen, and after surrendering a two-RBI single to Lorenzana that made the score 3-2, he struck out Garrett Carey to avoid further damage.
OSU added a key insurance run in the eighth. Gage Green led off the frame with a double and took third on the play on an error by Craig Akin in center field. After the next two Cowboys were retired, Saulyer Saxon fell behind in the count 0-2. On the next pitch, Green bolted for home and slid in safely with the stolen base when Jacob Evans' pitch sailed high to give the Pokes a 4-2 lead.
"When they switched pitchers, they told us they were going to look at what (Evans') time was; it was about 3.4 to the plate and after Saxon got two strikes, they said we were gonna try and go for it," said Green, whose stolen base was his team-leading 13th of the season.
Said Holliday of the play, which proved crucial after OU scored its third run in the bottom of the eighth, "You watch film all week long and study your opponent to try and understand situations as they may arise. You look for pickoff moves and times to the plate, and we had the right guy at third base at that moment to put the play in action.
"We saw it, it was our time to do it and I thought we took a shot at a good play. You try to catch them off guard, play aggressive and not be afraid of anything, and it worked for us."
Taking the one-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, Brendan McCurry retired the Sooners in order in their final at bat to seal the win.
Sunday's series finale is set for a 1:05 p.m. start.