Oklahoma State's Randy McCurry, having done his job with a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth inning, retreated to the left-field bullpen in case he'd be needed on the mound in the ninth.
So there he stood, watching teammate Gage Green sprinting right at him, tracking a drive off the bat of the Sooners' Cody Reine.
“I had about four heart attacks,” McCurry said.
Green kept running, eventually charging into the bullpen wall, yet securing the catch, helping McCurry and the Cowboys survive Sunday's Bedlam finale, 3-2, and clinch the weekend series.
OSU book ended a Saturday loss with two tight wins, improving to 28-18 overall and 13-8 in the Big 12. Having won 10 of their last 11 overall, the Cowboys have climbed into a second-place tie in the conference with Texas and Texas A&M, both losers on Sunday.
The Sooners slipped to 30-19 and 10-10, losing a Bedlam series that had been dubbed critical for both clubs.
“Pretty tough ballgame for either team to lose,” said OU coach Sunny Golloway, “and unfortunately it was us.”
Finally, a series previously ruled by pitching, delivered some drama at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Pitching was a premium again Sunday, with relievers this time setting a high standard. OSU's Blake Barnes finished with 3 1/3 hitless innings to earn the win. The Sooners' Steven Okert surrendered just one run in 5 1/3 innings.
That one run, however, was the game winner.
Tied 2-2 going to the bottom of the eighth, Robbie Rea started the Cowboys rally with a leadoff single to left. Mark Ginther squared to sacrifice, bunt bunted so well past Okert that it turned into a hit.
Okert finally flinched with Trey Whaley trying to bunt the runners over, walking him on five pitches. Okert struck out Jared Womack, but McCurry — a pitcher who hadn't even had an at-bat until the Texas Tech series two weekends ago — lofted his sacrifice fly to right field.
McCurry's fly ball was shallow and in foul ground, where Reine caught it and fired a strike to the plate. But Rea and the ball arrived at the same time, with Rea's slide knocking the ball out of OU catcher Dylan Neal's grasp.
The slide was hard, but clean, and the Cowboys had the lead.
“That's what it came down to,” Golloway said, “it came down to a bang-bang play at home.”
And it came down to Green's catch against the left-field wall.
Inserted as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth, Green had only recently been cleared to play after suffering two fractured bones in his face, after he'd been struck by a fly ball while shagging in the outfield during a Thursday practice at Texas.
Still, he never hesitated going hard after Reine's fly ball.
“The thing with Gage, he's not going to stop because a wall's there,” said Cowboys coach Frank Anderson. “That was huge. That part of the game, he hasn't been in the game and comes in late, it was a very aggressive play. But that's kind of how he plays.”
Barnes thought he'd made a good pitch, low and away.
“I literally almost didn't turn around, because I thought it was popped to short,” Barnes said. “I did not realize he got that good of wood on it.
“Then I was ready for Gage to catch the ball, in shallow left. I turned around and hear everybody cheering and Gage is sprinting to the track.
“I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go.' I see it floating out there.”
Green gathered that one in for the second out, then made a more routine play on pinch-hitter Chase Simpson's fly ball moments later to end the game.
“I thought both teams fought,” Anderson said. “OU's got good pitching. They've got guys who can deal it up and have a chance to pitch in the big leagues.
“So it's a good win for us.”