STILLWATER — On a wild night around the Big 12, Oklahoma State pitcher Tyler Nurdin kept his cool and kept another Cowboys win under control.
Facing just four batters over the minimum, Nurdin worked out of the little difficulty in his night — a bases-loaded jam in the fifth — and finished off a 5-0 complete game gem Friday night against West Virginia at Reynolds Stadium.
Combined with Kansas State's 6-5 win over Oklahoma on a walk-off passed ball, and Baylor's second loss in as many nights at eighth-place Texas Tech, the Cowboys clinched at least third place in the Big 12 standings.
OSU claimed its fourth straight conference series and its 15th victory in 18 starts, improving to 39-13 overall and 13-9 in league play. The Cowboys can finish second in the Big 12 by completing the sweep of the Mountaineers on Saturday, or if OU drops one of the final two games of its series in Manhattan.
For a team picked fifth in the preseason coaches poll and seemingly in transition under rookie head coach Josh Holliday, the Cowboys continue to make a statement.
“What it means is these guys understand how important it is to show up every day and play hard,” Holliday said. “How important it is to do everything right, because the game will reward you if you do. They're seeing that. They're having fun. They're confident. They're creating moments that I think they're always going to remember.
“And I hope the best ones are still ahead of them.”
Once considered a bubble team for postseason play, the Cowboys now appear all but a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Their late-season surge has transformed an ugly RPI that stood at 101 three weeks ago.
After Friday night's win, OSU sat at No. 27.
Nurdin, again healthy after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, kept the Cowboys on the upswing, allowing just four hits with one walk, while striking out seven.