Oklahoma State baseball: UC Irvine plays masterful small ball in Game 1 win over OSU

Before a sellout crowd of 4,000, Irvine seized initial control of the best-of-3 series by scoring just one of its runs on a ball hit out of the infield.
by John Helsley Modified: June 7, 2014 at 12:22 am •  Published: June 7, 2014


photo - UC Irvine's Chris Rabago (22) slides home to score against OSU's Jon Perrin (46) in the 5th inning during Game 1 of the NCAA baseball Stillwater Super Regional between Oklahoma State and UC Irvine at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, June 6, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
UC Irvine's Chris Rabago (22) slides home to score against OSU's Jon Perrin (46) in the 5th inning during Game 1 of the NCAA baseball Stillwater Super Regional between Oklahoma State and UC Irvine at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, June 6, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma State made itself a master of small ball this season.

UC Irvine went smaller and was more masterful Friday night, the big difference in the Anteaters’ 8-4 win in the Super Regional opener at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

Before a sellout crowd of 4,000, Irvine seized initial control of the best-of-3 series by scoring just one of its runs on a ball hit out of the infield.

The Anteaters scored two runs on one infield single, two on wild pitches, one on a squeeze bunt, one on a bases-loaded walk and another on a delayed double steal … with two outs. Irvine finished with five sacrifice bunts and also benefited from two Cowboys errors and two hit batters.

“Give them credit,” said OSU coach Josh Holliday, “they played a good game. They pitched well. They won the middle innings. We had some moments in time that we didn’t handle very well. Part of that is a credit to them for the way they played. But we just need to stay within ourselves. Some moments got away from us there that collectively we’re better than.”

So unsettling was the Anteaters’ applied pressure, OSU starter and ace Jon Perrin uncorked his wild pitches to score back-to-back runs in the fifth — one while attempting an intentional walk.

“They can do some action, bunt, hit-and-run, stuff like that,” Perrin said. “I didn’t really handle it very well tonight, that’s on me. It’s a typical California team. They’re going to do a lot of different things. It’s something we’re going to have to handle better tomorrow.”

Irvine (39-23) sends its ace, Andrew Morales, to the mound Saturday night. Morales, 10-2 and a first-day draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals, made two starts in last week’s regional at Oregon State and was pushed back a day.

The Cowboys, ranked as high as No. 3 in the polls, will counter with freshman Tyler Buffett. Game time is 9 p.m.

Irvine played to its personality Friday night.

While the Cowboys boast a combination of long- and small-ball, the Anteaters are built primarily on the little stuff. In 61 games before arriving in Stillwater, they had dropped 82 sacrifice bunts and added 32 sac flies. In one game at Oregon State last week, they squeezed in two runs in the same inning.

As a team, the Anteaters have 12 home runs. OSU’s Zach Fish has 11.

Yet in Game 1, Irvine didn’t need to hit the ball out of the park — or the infield.


by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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