June 7, 2014


Morales throws shutout, sends Anteaters to CWS

By Tim Ahrens

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


STILLWATER, Okla. - 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. Reynolds Stadium.


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.


UCI’s coach 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.”



  •       Jonathan 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 Texas.

  •       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.