Freshman Tyler Buffett seemed to be in line for the start, but Wheeland’s experience and status as the Cowboys’ most versatile and valuable pitcher all season earned him the nod. And he responded.
Morales was just a bit better.
“He really attacked the strike zone,” Cowboys second baseman Tim Arakawa said of Morales. “He used three pitches, all of them for strikes. We had a good plan against him, too, we just didn’t execute. He did pitch a great game though.”
The Cowboys managed just four runners in scoring position and none past second after Bryan Case was stranded at third in the third. Morales retired the final 10 Cowboys in order and the top five spots in the OSU order to a combined 0-for-16 night at the plate.
OSU’s season ends at 48-18. The Big 12 regular season champions, ranked as high as No. 3 in the national polls, posted the program’s most wins in two decades and played in just their third Super Regional – their first at home.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Holliday said. “That’s a tough one to swallow.
“Just look at this place. Enough said. Sold-out crowds after we were averaging 200 fans a game. People care about these kids. We played a lot of meaningful baseball. We won the Big 12. That’s pretty remarkable, considering the depth of the conference, so we’re very proud of that.”