STILLWATER – When Zach Fish stepped to the plate in the eighth inning Saturday, he didn't just carry the weight of a game, with Oklahoma State trailing by a run with two outs.
The weight of the moment was much heavier than that.
So when Fish drilled a long solo home run, the first big blow in a two-run rally that produced a 7-6 win over Kansas State at packed Reynolds Stadium, it was special.
“It was probably one of my very, very special moments at OSU, just because of the crowd and the situation, the Kids for Cancer today – that was a very emotional thing for us,” Fish said. “We have to remember that at the end of the day, this is just a game for us. For those kids, they really bring a lot to helping you realize a lot about life.
“So for me, it was a special moment to give the crowd something to cheer about.”
The weekend was already big enough for the Cowboys, who had dropped consecutive road series to fall below .500 in Big 12 play, putting their postseason hopes in peril.
But the Kids for Cancer event, which concluded after the game with players and coaches and fans shaving their heads for money in the stands, put a special charge into the afternoon.
Then there were the stands at Reynolds Stadium, filling to capacity as fans from the football spring game spilled across the street.
“Oh, it had us at a high,” said designated hitter Trey Whaley, another key figure in the rally, following Fish's blast with a double that became the winning run.
The high carries on, with Saturday's win the second in the series, offering opportunity for a sweep Sunday, when the teams close their weekend in a 1 p.m. start.
“That was an awesome day for us,” said first-year Cowboys coach Josh Holliday. “To look up and see a full crowd and to have energy in the park and have things going on, but most importantly for our team to respond and to give our fans an exciting win.
“Big for our team. Big for our program. Big for our season. That felt to me, for the first time, like big-time college baseball again.”