(OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma / May 30, 2017) – Oklahoma State captured the Big 12 Baseball Championship crown for the second time in program history Sunday as the Cowboys secured the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid with a 6-5 win over Texas in the title game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The win was the sixth in a row for the Cowboys, who improved to 30-25 on the season, and gives OSU the 32nd conference championship in program history; OSU also became the first No. 8 seed in Big 12 history to win the conference tourney. OSU’s other previous Big 12 Championship tournament title came in 2004; the Pokes lost in the final in 2014 and 2015.
Sunday’s victory also marked a milestone for OSU head coach Josh Holliday as it was the 200th win of his career. In his fifth season at the helm, Holliday has now led his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament each year.
OSU will be making the 43rd NCAA Regional appearance in program history this week, with the tourney field set to be released Monday at 11 a.m. on ESPN2. The tournament begins Friday.
Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player Garrett McCain had another big day for the Cowboys to lead OSU over Texas as the junior outfielder went 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. He is the first player in OSU history to win the Big 12 tourney’s MOP award.
Ryan Cash and Bryce Fischer, who joined McCain on the all-tournament team, also had productive offensive showings as Cash went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, while Fischer had three hits, including a home run and a double.
OSU used eight different pitchers in the contest, with Blake Battenfield picking up his second win of the tourney with 1 1/3 innings of relief. Battenfield was also an all-tournament team selection, as was Carson Teel, who earned a save by tossing two shutout innings to seal the win.
After the Cowboys left the bases loaded in their first at bat, they fell behind in the bottom of the first as Texas struck for a pair of runs against OSU starter C.J. Varela.
Varela retired the first two UT hitters, but Travis Jones was hit by a pitch and stole second base. The Longhorns then reeled off three-straight singles, with Kacy Clemens and Bret Boswell picking up RBIs to put them up 2-0.
The Cowboys got on the board in the third. Cash opened the inning with a single, and McCain followed by ripping an RBI double down the left-field line to cut the OSU deficit to 2-1.
UT (37-22) would get the run back in the bottom of the frame, however, as the Horns picked up yet another two-out RBI when Kody Clemens followed a Boswell double with a hit through the right side to make the score 3-1.
OSU’s deficit did not last long as the Cowboys took their first lead with a three-run rally in the fourth. Fischer got things started with a leadoff double and a sacrifice bunt and consecutive walks loaded the bases with one out.
Up next, Cash continued his hot hitting as he singled up the middle, his third hit of the day, to bring home a pair of runs and tie the game at 3-3. McCain would follow that with his second RBI single of the contest as the Pokes went up 4-3.
OSU doubled its lead with runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Cash collected a double with one out, and McCain followed with an RBI double to make it 5-3 before Fischer blasted his first homer as a Cowboy in the seventh to push the advantage to three.
Texas rallied for two runs on four hits to draw within a run of the Cowboys in the bottom of the seventh, but Trey Cobb got David Hamilton to ground out to end the inning and strand a pair of Horns on base.
Trailing 6-5, the Longhorns didn’t go quietly over the final two innings. They put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth before Teel induced a pop up and a foul out to end the frame. And in the ninth, they brought the winning run to the plate twice. But with the tying run on second, Teel got Hamilton to pop out to shortstop to set off the OSU celebration.
2017 Big 12 Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team/OSU honorees: Garrett McCain, OF, (Most Outstanding Player); Colin Simpson, C; Ryan Cash, 2B; Ryan Sluder, OF; Bryce Fischer, DH; Blake Battenfield, Starting Pitcher; Carson Teel, Relief Pitcher.