June 7, 2014
Morales throws shutout, sends Anteaters to CWS
By Tim Ahrens
- Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday arrived at the podium for
the postgame press conference several minutes before his players
and took a seat, sighing several times as he tried to wrap his
head around and accept what had just happened at Allie P.
By the time the cameras were
rolling and members of the media were asking questions, he still
had a hard time accepting that the Cowboys (48-18) had seen
their last game on the diamond in 2014 with a heartbreaking 1-0
loss against UC Irvine on Saturday night.
“I’m really proud of our kids,
that’s a tough one to swallow,” Holliday said. “I’m not ready to
deal with this, at all. I don’t know how, but I guess that’s
what I keep learning too: How to deal with reality. That’s it.
That’s pretty real, it hits you in the face awfully fast.”
What was heartbreak for OSU was
jubilee for the Anteaters (40-23), who earned their second
overall trip to the College World Series and their first since
2007. Andrew Morales, Big West Pitcher of the Year, did
everything but score the game-winning run in a complete-game
shutout of the Cowboys.
Morales limited OSU to five hits
and fanned eight, lowering his ERA to 1.53 on the season and
picking up his 11th win. It was yet another joyous moment for
the senior, who was drafted Friday by the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I trusted my curveball today and
my slider, those have been two big pitches for me this year,”
Morales said. “It was hard for me to find it in the beginning; I
was missing up a lot because it was really humid out there and
hard to get a grip.
“I didn’t really focus on the
draft when I was a junior, as I didn’t focus on it this year.
Sometimes you get that little monkey on your back and the
draft’s on your mind, but I’m happy to put my team first and
give us the best chance to win. Fortunately, the Cardinals did
take a chance on me this year and I’m very, very blessed.”
Morales stifled the Cowboys,
whose first five batters went a combined 0 for 16 and struck out
six times. Tanner Krietemeier, who drove in all four runs for
OSU in Game 1, was 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and
struck out three times against Morales.
“I felt like he really attacked
the strike zone, he was throwing three pitches and all of them
for strikes,” said second baseman Tim Arakawa, who had two of
OSU’s five hits. “We put some distance on the ball though, we
just couldn’t find the holes.”
UCI got the
only run it needed in the bottom of the first inning. After
Chris Rabago and Connor Spencer hit consecutive singles,
designated hitter Jonathan Munoz hit a two-out double down the
left field line and scored Rabago.
“Obviously, we’re really
excited,” Munoz said. “From the outside it might look like we’re
sorta the underdog, but as a team we feel like we match up with
anyone. We’re not overmatched by anyone like Coach (Mike)
Gillespie says; every time we go out, we know we’re just as good
as them and if we play our game and do what we have to do to win
we’ll end up in a good position.”
Vince Wheeland, the senior
pitcher for OSU, made just his third start all season and picked
up his first loss in the process. He gave up seven hits through
the first three innings, but settled down and allowed just two
more and struck out three as he pitched a total of 6.2 innings.
Gillespie was classy, choosing not to revel in his team’s win
but instead tipping his hat to the Cowboys, offering his insight
in the process.
“We know the feeling that
Oklahoma State has; we’ve had this feeling, we’ve been there,”
Gillespie said. “So I’m sure there’s not anything we said that
will make them feel better. It will come to pass for them that
they will absolutely know what a fabulous year they had as they
did, but when it gets to this and everybody’s got the same goal
and it’s this close, it’s very hard to deal with.
“Oklahoma State deserves high
marks for picking Josh Holliday as their coach. And Oklahoma
State baseball is an elite program and will be for a long time.”
Munoz’s RBI-double in the bottom of the first was his only hit
of the series and the only extra-base hit of the game.
Andrew Morales threw his third complete game of
the season in the win.
This was the first time OSU lost consecutive
games since April 22 against Oral Roberts and April 25 against
UCI entered the
tournament with six straight losses; the Anteaters have won
five of six games in the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals.
Vince Wheeland threw 110 pitches on Saturday
night, a career-high.