STILLWATER — Cal State Fullerton arrived at the Stillwater Regional with stout pitching stats, including the nation’s best earned-run average.
During the course of the season and into Saturday night, numbering 55 games, the Titans hadn’t allowed more than six runs in a nine-inning game and had surrendered more on but three occasions — each time in 11 innings.
And going against Oklahoma State in the regional winner’s bracket final, Fullerton had Justin Garza ready to go and riding a streak of 101/3 no-hit innings.
The Cowboys took notice. And then they took the offensive.
OSU battered Garza and the Titans’ bullpen, too, romping to a 13-7 win before a packed house of 3,248 at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, moving one win away from a Super Regional berth.
“Our kids were fantastic at home plate,” said Cowboys coach Josh Holliday. “We kept scoring every single inning and never let that ball club get totally back in the game, even though they kept pushing us and pushing us. Tremendous effort by our kids.
“I thought our kids were as good offensively as we’ve been all year. It’s one of the better offensive games I’ve been around, just knowing the type of quality kids on the other side of the field.”
The Cowboys return to the park Sunday for a 6 p.m. matchup against the noon Fullerton-Nebraska elimination-game winner, which would have to beat the Pokes twice to end their season. This is OSU’s best NCAA Tournament start since 2007, when it went unbeaten to claim the Arkansas Regional and advance to a Super Regional at Louisville.
“What we’ve done is play good baseball back-to-back nights,” Holliday said. “We’ll need to be ready to play another good baseball game. It’s nice to be in that position, but the tournament still has legs left to it.”
Garza, a sophomore right-hander, tossed the fourth no-hitter in Fullerton history against Cal State Northridge last week in the Big West Conference Tournament. And he was sharp early against the Cowboys, retiring the first eight batters he faced.
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