STILLWATER, Okla. – The Top 10 billing lived up to the hype. In a contest that went down to the wire, no. 9 Texas Tech outlasted No. 3 Oklahoma State, 7-6, Friday night at O’Brate Stadium to kick off a crucial Big 12 series between two teams vying for the conference crown.
In a game that had its share of wild plays between two teams that would not quit, the final out was recorded by way of a pickle play between home plate and third base while grasping to a one-run lead (watch). With runners on the corners, catcher Hudson White cleanly fielded a two-out 2-1 pitch in the dirt from Andrew Devine, attempting to take advantage of the wild pitch, the Cowboys’ baserunner at third bolted home only to be caught by White moving toward him with the ball in hand. White ran up the third-base line toward the runner and tossed to third baseman Parker Kelly as the runner began retreating back to third base before one more throw to first baseman Cole Stilwell, who jumped into the play, made the tag for the game- ending out.
It was poetic for Stilwell to close the game defensively as he played hero all night from the batter’s box. The junior connected for a no-doubt grand slam (watch) in the fourth inning to give Tech a 5-2 lead, and they never trailed again. Stilwell reached base each time he went to the plate on Friday, going 2-for-2 along with three walks.
Chasing Oklahoma State in the standings, the win keeps Tech (33-16, 12-7) in the hunt for the Big 12 regular season title with just five games left in the season. The Cowboys (34-15, 13-6) lead dropped to one game over the Red Raiders and Oklahoma (12-7), while TCU remains in the hunt one-half game back at 14-8 in the league standings as they close conference play this weekend. Tech finishes the season at home versus Oklahoma, May 19-21.
Oklahoma State dropped to 18-4 this season when scoring in the first inning as the home team jumped on Tech 2-0 in the opening frame. Starter Andrew Morris issued a walk, and one batter later allowed a line drive shot that left the park.
Kurt Wilson sparked Texas Tech’s offense in the fourth as he led off the frame with his team-best fifth triple of the season (watch). Owen Washburn followed the at-bat with a double (watch) that brought Wilson home to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. The third hit of the inning was the big one, Stilwell’s grand slam that put a five-spot on the scoreboard for the Red Raiders. Kelly drew a walk and Easton Murrell was hit by a pitch for the 22nd time this season, as the two joined Washburn and Stilwell in celebration after the blast.
In the next inning, both teams scored once making it a 6-3 game after five complete innings. White connected for one of two warning track distance hits in the game, the one in the fifth scored Wilson from third, as a would-be three-run home run was logged as a sheet fly (watch). Washburn was at second base as he connected for his second double in as many innings.
In the sixth, Oklahoma State’s first three batters reached base to load the base using a pair of singles and a hit-by-pitch. The sequence ended Morris’ start, and Tech went to Derek Bridges in the bullpen. The sophomore worked out of the jam, allowing just one to score, which was aided by an incredible defensive play by Kelly who took a run off the board fielding a safety squeeze bunt bare-handed and fired to first in time (watch) to eliminate the potential run racing home from third.
The Cowboys scored one in the seventh, cutting the Red Raiders’ lead to 6-5. In the eighth, Tech added an insurance run gifted on a wild pitch allowing Dillon Carter to race home from third base (watch) and give Tech a two-run lead again, 7-5.
It was needed as Oklahoma State would not go down without a fight, scoring once in the ninth before the final out was recorded.
The series continues versus Oklahoma State Saturday in primetime again, at 6 pm The finale is Sunday at 1 pm