Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday has seen it all year.
Time after time, he’s watched his Cowboys battle back and find ways to win games late.
Saturday, Holliday’s team did it twice, coming back to beat Texas 3-1 and 6-4 to advance to the Big 12 Tournament title game against TCU at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The top-seeded Cowboys will play No. 2 TCU at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
“They have an amazing ability to compete no matter what the circumstances and no matter how long they are here,” Holliday said. “Every excuse in the world that someone could try to pull up doesn’t exist for these kids. It’s very special to be a part of.”
Against the Longhorns, it was players like first baseman Tanner Krietemeier and reliever Mark Robinette that helped the Cowboys fight through to stay alive.
Krietemeier delivered go-ahead hits in the eighth inning of each game to extend OSU’s run.
In the opener, the Cowboys couldn’t get much going at all offensively until the eighth when the bottom part of the lineup helped spark a rally.
Donnie Walton tied the game at one on an RBI single before Krietemeier followed with another to break the tie.
“I was just looking for a fastball,” Krietemeier said. “I knew he was a heavy fastball pitcher so I was just trying to find one that I could actually handle and tried to handle it as best I could.”
Randy McCurry came on to retire three consecutive batters in the ninth to earn his 18th save.
The Cowboys trailed 4-3 going into the eighth in the second game when Krietemeier came up with the bases loaded and one out after Texas intentionally walked Gage Green.
Holliday came down to have a quick conversation with Krietemeier before the at-bat.
“Just reminding him that the guy had a really good sinker, which he does,” Holliday said. “We wanted to try to get a ball that he could get the barrel under a little bit and not get on top of it. They obviously wanted to get a ball hit into the ground.
“Tanner hit it hard into the ground right into the middle of the field and did a great job. … It’s all him right there.”
Robinette, who had struggled of late, took advantage of some recent adjustments and threw three scoreless innings to get the win and close it out.
“It’s been frustrating for me at times but I had my moment and my teammates kind of opened me up to that moment,” Robinette said. “They brought energy to help me out. … I felt the energy behind me. They kind of helped me power through everything.”
The Cowboys opened a door for Texas in the ninth then quickly slammed it shut after OSU centerfielder Saulyer Saxon dropped Madison Carter’s deep fly ball with no outs and a runner on first.
After Carter was nearly to second, runner Tres Barrera broke toward third and was thrown out at third as Carter scrambled back to first base.
OSU will also learn Sunday whether they will host a regional next week. The Cowboys are expected to be one of 16 schools to host and could be one of eight national seeds with the chance to host a super regional if they advance.
Texas coach Augie Garrido was adamant after the game that the Cowboys deserved a national seed.
The full NCAA Tournament pairings will be announced Monday.