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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

After the Cowboys struck for a 1-0 lead in the first, Irvine took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. With runners at second and third with two outs, eight-hole hitter Adam Alcantara grounded a ball up the middle that Cowboys second baseman Tim Arakawa backhanded in the hole. Arakawa had no chance to get the out at first, yet threw anyway, and Irvine’s Kris Paulino sped all the way home from second.

The Anteaters pushed the lead to 5-1 in the fifth, one on a bloop single, the other two on Perrin’s wild tosses to the plate.

The squeeze and the bases-loaded walk made it 7-1 in the sixth, before the two-out delayed steal bumped it to 8-1 in the eighth.

“We need to be a little bit more under control,” Holliday said. “We didn’t see anything necessarily that’s new to us. But we didn’t handle the moment as well as we can. We didn’t play as complete a game as a ball club as we need to.”

OSU, with its 28 come-from-behind wins, made a charge in the eighth, getting a three-run homer from Tanner Krietemeier and loading the bases with one out. But a double play snuffed that rally and the Cowboys went quietly in the ninth, falling to 48-17.

“We showed some fight late, probably made them a hair uncomfortable with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the eighth,” Holliday said.

With its season on the brink, OSU’s challenge to stay alive starts with Morales, the Big West Pitcher of the Year, who enters a 1.64 earned run average and 128 strikeouts — ranking fourth nationally — in 120 2/3 innings. A senior, Morales was the No. 71 pick of the Cardinals on Thursday night as a supplemental pick following the second round.

Buffett, who has pitched some big games down the stretch, is 2-1 with a 2.94 ERA.

“We knew that we needed to win two ball games coming into this series,” said Cowboys designated hitter Zach Fish. “Going into tomorrow, we know we have to win two. We’re not going to change our mindset.

“We came out on our heels a little bit tonight and they got the first jab. But that’s why we play baseball. There’s two more games. You get an opportunity to come back out tomorrow and play in front of a great crowd.”