NORMAN — Through Night 1 of the final weekend of the regular season, everything has gone about as well as it could’ve for the Pokes.
Oklahoma State beat down Bedlam rival Oklahoma 13-2 on Thursday night at L Dale Mitchell Park, and Texas beat the tar out of league-leading West Virginia 12-2 to pull the Pokes within a game of the Mountaineers. There is still a chance the Cowboys could win the conference outright on Saturday but even if they tied West Virginia in the standings, the teams would share the Big 12 title.
“If we take care of what we’re doing, that gives us the best chance to be relevant,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “That’s gonna be our focus. We just need to get ready for tomorrow, play really good tomorrow. If we do that, that’s everything we can do to have a spot in that conversation. I don’t look much at scores [elsewhere].”
With another dominant win, the Cowboys have outscored their in-state rivals 32-10 in two games this season. OSU coach Josh Holliday moves to 31-11 against the Sooners.
Saturday’s game felt over shortly after it began. OSU scored a run in the first, two in the second, four in the third and four more in the fourth. Putting crooked numbers on a scoreboard isn’t a new thing for the Pokes. Over the past 10 games, OSU is averaging 11.7 runs a game.
Many Cowboys had big days Thursday, but Colin Brueggemann stood out even among all the stuffed stat lines. Brueggemann went 2-for-4 with five RBIs and a pair of home runs, including a third-inning grand slam to right. He is up to six home runs on the year.
A sophomore from Illinois, Brueggemann has been on the fringes of the OSU lineup. He took just three at-bats last weekend against Kansas State and only one the weekend before against East Tennessee State. When given the opportunity, he has hit well, entering Thursday hitting .360.
“I was just trying to see ball, hit ball and do some damage for my team, get the runners in when I could,” Brueggemann said. “Just worked out well today.”
Four Cowboys had multiple hits, and Roc Riggio and Tyler Wulfert joined Brueggemann with multiple RBIs.
With the shortened week, Nolan McLean started on the mound for the Pokes, making just his second pitching appearance since March 24 after an injury. It was his first start of the season. McLean went three innings allowing a single run off four hits while walking four and striking out five. His ERA moves to 1.84 on the year.
The Cowboys’ pitching depth has been questioned at times this season but having a missile-thrower of McLean’s caliber able to give a solid start to protect the rest of OSU’s staff from the short week could be huge. Expect OSU ace Jauron Watts-Brown to take to the mound Friday.
The Cowboys were also able to save arms with Evan O’Toole going five innings in relief. He he allowed no runs off five hits while striking out four and walking one. Brian Hendry came in for the ninth and gave up a run but struck out two.
“If you can remember back, when [McLean] was healthy and pitching, he was leading the country in saves,” Holliday said. “He was an incredible, important piece of the staff that allowed other guys to fall down into different roles and innings. We felt real good about how that was going to set up. When you lose a guy like that, it’s a tough loss. It takes time to offset that and adjust and adapt, which our kids have done a great job of doing. It’s just a team effort.”
Josh Holliday’s Postgame News Conference
Bedlam Game 2
Time: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Location: L Dale Mitchell Park