STILLWATER — After Oklahoma State came back to win Friday’s Bedlam game in Tulsa, 2-1 on an infield hit and an error in the ninth inning, Cowboys coach Josh Holliday felt like it was a bit of payback.
Vince Wheeland had done everything Holliday and pitching coach Rob Walton had asked of him this season — long relief, short relief and even starting twice — and he’d done it so well and so consistently that when a 1-0 lead slipped away from him, Holliday said the team had a debt to pay to Wheeland.
“He’s been almost perfect all year long and for them to tie it up, our team owed it to him to score that run,” Holliday said. “When that kid comes to the mound, he’s been light out for us.”
It’s hard to argue that by any measure.
Going into this week’s Big 12 Tournament, Wheeland is 8-0 with a 1.32 ERA in 68 innings pitched over 26 appearances. He’s given up just 11 runs — 10 earned — and walked just 12.
Wheeland’s performance earned him Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors from The Oklahoman.
After dropping a three-game series at Baylor in late March, the Cowboys went on to win eight consecutive series — sweeping four including a non-conference series over Arizona State — to win the school’s first Big 12 regular-season title.
Wheeland was right in the middle of all of it.
In each of those series, the senior right-hander from Turlock, Calif., came out with one of the wins. In none of those games did he give up more than one run.
Wheeland has embraced the role as the Cowboys’ do-everything option on the mound this last two seasons. As a junior, he went 8-2 with a 1.97 ERA.