Oklahoma State’s dramatic run through the Big 12 Baseball Tournament finally ran out of gas.
Playing its sixth game in five days, OSU no longer had the pitching to contend with TCU starter Tyler Alexander as the Horned Frogs cruised to a 7-1 victory in the championship game on Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
“At the end of the day the value of staying in the winner’s bracket for sure showed itself out,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, whose team was playing just its fourth game of the tournament on Sunday. “Obviously, it’s a great day for our team and our program being in the league for just a couple years.”
TCU (42-15) finished the tournament 4-0 and had only played once since Thursday. Oklahoma State (45-16) played three times over the same time span.
The Cowboys fell to the loser’s bracket after falling to Texas on Thursday and played their way into the championship game with three comeback wins, including two against Texas on Saturday.
“I am very proud of our team, and what they’ve accomplished in the last five days is significant,” said OSU coach Josh Holliday. “For the most part, it was very high-end quality baseball against elite opponents. Everything that you need to be ready to handle, this tournament provided our team.”
TCU struck first with a Jerrick Suiter RBI single in the second, and OSU tied it a half inning later when a Saulyer Saxon safety-squeeze bunt scored Tim Arakawa.
OSU starter Michael Freeman, who had pitched just 91/3 innings on the year with no starts, gave the Cowboys three solid innings before his first start unraveled in the fourth.
The junior walked three straight with one out, helping TCU start a four-run inning. Freeman lasted five innings, surrendering five earned runs on seven hits.
“We had to have someone throw five innings,” Holliday said. “It was simply the predicament we were in today, and (Freeman) was up for the challenge. I’m proud of the effort he gave. Other than that one inning, I thought he competed awfully well.”
The 5-1 lead after four innings was plenty for Alexander. The freshman threw a complete game — giving up one earned run on four hits and striking out four with no walks.
“I like pitching in the limelight,” Alexander said. “I like when it’s a big game, but I just try to treat it like a regular game. I didn’t try to do too much.”
Alexander was the second TCU starter to toss a complete game in the tournament after Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Preston Morrison did so Thursday in a 6-2 win over West Virginia.
Designated hitter Jerrick Suiter, the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, went 2-for-2 against the Cowboys with two runs scored and two RBIs.
“Tyler was great, Fitzy got the big hit in the fourth inning and Jerrick’s played great the entire tournament,” Schlossnagle said. “I’m really, really proud of our team and excited to get back to Fort Worth.”