Kansas scored an unearned run in the first to go on top 1-0, as Michael Suiter reached on a one-out error and scored on Alex DeLeon’s single. It could have been worse, as the Jayhawks loaded the bases, but OSU starter Tyler Nurdin fanned Connor McKay to escape the jam.
The Cowboys, held hitless through three innings, finally broke through against KU starter Wes Benjamin in the fifth, scoring twice on a run-scoring single by Randy McCurry and an RBI double by Zach Fish.
The teams traded runs, putting OSU’s lead at 3-2, when Tharp’s big swing in the seventh flipped momentum.
“I worked (the count) to 3-2 and I knew (Nurdin) had to come after me with something,” Tharp said. “I just sat back on it and tried to put a good swing on it. Fortunately, it left the yard.”
Said KU coach Ritch Price: “Tuck opened the season in the three-hole for us and you can look at his numbers and see he’s had a really tough year. At the same time, he brings energy to the table everyday. He plays outstanding in centerfield. And he’s been clutch late for us.
“Couldn’t happen to a better kid, man.”
And for a change, the comeback happened to, not for, the Cowboys.
For OSU now, the focus is on winning a game and building something for postseason play.
“Every time you play it’s important,” Holliday said. “Every time you get to compete and wear this uniform is meaningful. And I believe that with every fiber in me.
“These guys know that. They know what a privilege it is to play. And they know how important it is to play well and conduct yourself in the right way.
“We need to get up and get out here in good rhythm and play better baseball. That’s all there is to it. And that’s our focus. That’s right there.”