June 6, 2014


UCI Takes Advantage of OSU Miscues

By Tim Ahrens

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


STILLWATER, Okla. – Coming from behind to win games after giving up too many extra opportunities is something that rarely happens, and Friday night’s game at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium was no different for Oklahoma State.


The Cowboys committed two errors, as many as UC Irvine did. But a number of mistakes made by OSU’s pitching staff put the team in a deep hole that it could never overcome as the Anteaters (39-23) took the first game of the Stillwater Super Regional in an 8-4 victory.


“They won in the middle innings,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “I think some moments got away from us there, that collectively as a team we’re better than. We just have to be a little bit more under control. I don’t think we necessarily saw anything that was new to us; we just didn’t handle the moment as well as we can.”


The host Cowboys (48-17), one of just seven top seeds to win their regional groups, took the early lead in the bottom of the first inning. After shortstop Donnie Walton reached on a throwing error by UCI first baseman Taylor Sparks, Zach Fish doubled to the left field wall to put two runners in scoring position. On the next pitch, Tanner Krietemeier hit an RBI groundout to second that scored Walton and gave OSU the early 1-0 lead.


Walton, Fish and Krietemeier all recorded two hits and combined for essentially all of the Cowboys’ offense. Walton finished 2 for 5 with two runs, Fish went 2 for 5 with one run, and Krietemeier was responsible for driving in all of OSU’s runs as he went 2 for 4 with one run and four RBI.


After that first inning, UCI starter Elliot Surrey (8-4, 1.99 ERA) settled down to go six more. He allowed five hits and two walks while striking out five and allowing two unearned runs.


“They had good pitchers working all night," Fish said. “We were just a little bit off balance, and they were able to locate. The way that first kid (Surrey) threw tonight, he mixed his slider, his curveball, his changeup, his fastball, went in, went out.”


Where Surrey was in control, junior Jon Perrin (8-5, 2.38 ERA) was far from it. OSU’s ace looked solid through three innings, allowing one hit but committing a balk. The closest the Anteaters got to scoring was having runners on the corners with two outs in the second, but Conor Costello made a diving catch to rob Adam Alcantara of an RBI hit.


The Cowboys weren’t able to hold off the Anteaters for long, though. In the fourth inning, Perrin hit right fielder Kris Paulino to put runners on first and second. He then threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Bryan Case and advanced the runners to second and third. One batter later, Alcantara hit a two-RBI single that gave UCI its first lead of the night.


The trouble wasn’t over for Perrin yet. In the fifth, he gave up a leadoff double to Sparks (4 for 5, 2 R) before committing a fielding error on an intended sacrifice bunt that puts runners on the corners with no outs. Connor Spencer (2 for 4, 1 R, 1 RBI) singled to score Sparks, and he and Chris Rabago advanced to second and third after a sacrifice bunt.


Perrin then threw two wild pitches that scored Rabago and Spencer, blowing the game wide open and leaving it out of reach for OSU. The Cowboys pitching staff allowed three more runs on a bases-loaded sacrifice bunt, a bases-loaded walk and a double delayed steal.


The Cowboys tried to come alive with a rally in the eighth inning. Following a three-run home run by Krietemeier, OSU had the bases loaded with one out and Case at bat. Case had been heating up in the postseason, but he instead hit into a 5-4-3 double play that ended OSU’s hopes of a 29th comeback win this season.


UCI coach Mike Gillespie was happy to get the win but found it far from a good win. And because of that, he’s not worried about his players taking Friday’s win for granted and getting ahead of themselves before Saturday’s game that could potentially clinch a College World Series bid for the Anteaters.


“It was exactly the same with us in the eighth inning, we had our own problems,” Gillespie said. “It was a flawed game. And I think our players understand it’s nothing-nothing now. I don’t think there’s one person stupid enough to think this deal’s close to over.


“I think Oklahoma State is way too good and our players have way too much respect to underestimate them.”


UCI will bring ace pitcher Andrew Morales, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the Supplemental B Round of the 2014 MLB Draft, to the mound Saturday night at 9 p.m. CT against the Cowboys. OSU will counter with freshman Tyler Buffett as it hopes to force a third game in the Super Regional.



·        Tanner Krietemeier raised his RBI total to 52 with his 4-RBI performance on Friday. He now leads OSU in the category

·        The Cowboys pitching staff combined to commit a balk, throw three wild pitches, hit two batters and commit one fielding error in the loss.

·        UCI is one of only seven remaining teams to average seven runs or more in the NCAA Tournament