By John Helsley
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Appears we owe an apology to umpire Mark Winters, it wasn’t him who botched the call at first base on Davis Duren in OSU’s Thursday night loss to Missouri. Both the pregame lineup sheet and the postgame box score listed Winters as working first base, yet it was Mike Morris on the call.
The reference to a botched call above, however, remains. Duren was safe. Here’s proof from photographer Nate Billings of The Oklahoman. In this excellent photo, you can see Mizzou pitcher Phil McCormick stepping on Duren’s hand on first base, meaning Duren was there first.
It was a huge play in the game, as the Cowboys were getting to the Tigers closer. And even with two outs, they would have at least had the bases loaded, and Devin Shines may have scored all the way from second on the slow-developing play.
As it was, the call sucked momentum from the Pokes, and immediately transferred it to the Tigers, even though they’d just blown a 5-3 lead and found themselves tied 5-5 going to the bottom of the ninth.
Of course, Mizzou won it in the bottom of the ninth. And now the Cowboys must attempt the difficult path through the loser’s bracket to make Sunday’s title game. More on that in a bit.
Now, a case for the umpire, Morris.
On close plays at first base — bang-bang plays they call them — umpires depend on both their eyes and their ears. They can’t watch both the glove and the base, so they fix their eyes on one and listen for the sound of the other, most likely the foot on the bag.
By sliding head first — a move that’s never a good idea — Duren removed one of the bangs from the equation.
So let’s cut Morris some slack.
On to today’s game, an elimination contest agaisnt Texas — who wants it more?
Longhorns coach Augie Garrido is on record as saying he’s not interested in taxing his pitching staff at the Big 12 Tournament, not with UT’s status as a national seed and host role in the NCAA Tournament all but assured.
So what about the Cowboys? While not in the lofty position of the Horns, the Cowboys are in the NCAA Tournament and likely can’t do much to change their place, which is a low 2 or high 3 seed in a regional. But as one of the “local” teams, there may be more pressure on OSU to do well in Bricktown, and not just fade out to prepare for next week’s more important games.
Who will Anderson pitch today? In a text message this morning, he said he’d been “up since 5:30 (a.m.) trying to figure that out.” Another indication of how he views the tournament.
Andrew Heaney, Jason Hursh and Randy McCurry are the pitchers with the most starting experience. But Anderson also said he liked the way Blake Barnes threw in relief against Missouri, indicating that he could be in play if the Cowboys stay alive in the bracket.
Stay tuned. And follow me on twitter @jjhelsley for in-game updates.