With the bases loaded, the crowd roaring and the fate of game one on his shoulders, Colin Simpson’s at-bat was the most important of the day.
The result, however, was unlike Trevor Boone’s home run against Nebraska or Alix Garcia’s walk-off single against TCU in the Big 12 Championships.
Simpson’s ball landed firmly in the glove of Texas Tech center fielder Dylan Neuse instead of making its way over the fence.
In the first game of the Lubbock Super Regional against Texas Tech, the Oklahoma State baseball team came close to taking a lead multiple times, but ultimately lost the game 8-6.
Simpson’s at-bat was one of many moments that the Cowboys were a swing away from tying or taking a lead.
After missing out on the opportunity, outfielder Trevor Boone said that his team had faith it could still come away with the victory.
“It was frustrating,” Boone said. “But we just try and stick together. We've been in that spot before. We weren't exactly uncomfortable. We just trusted ourselves and trusted the guys on the mound. We just tried to stick together.”
OSU got behind early due to a poor first four innings from starting pitcher Jensen Elliott. The junior surrendered seven hits, four walks and four earned runs before he was pulled.
Jake Lyons, Peyton Battenfield and Ben Leeper combined to throw the final four innings, allowing two runs on four hits as the trio tried to keep the Cowboys within reaching distance.
It took until the fourth inning from OSU to get its first run. The score came on a two-RBI single from Boone.
The fourth inning revolved around Boone’s play at the plate as well as in the field. Following his hit in the top half, Boone was responsible for two of the Red Raiders’ three runs in the inning on a fly ball that dropped out of his glove.
OSU coach Josh Holliday noted how uncharacteristic of a play it was from his outfield.
“Probably more than anything, it was in the air a long time,” Holliday said. “The athletes traveled a great distance, all of them running at full speed. I think at the last minute there might have been a lack of comfort in finishing the play for fear of maybe just colliding. That's a play normally we make. Today we didn't make it.”
Down 6-2 through four innings the Cowboys continued to chip away at the Red Raiders lead.
Garcia added a solo home run in the fifth and OSU added another two runs prior to Simpson’s at-bat in the seventh.
No matter what the Cowboys did, Texas Tech seemed to always have a response. Whether it was scoring three in the fourth, getting Simpson to flyout or shortstop Josh Jung’s solo homer in the seventh, the Red Raiders always had an answer for Holliday’s team.
Despite trailing for the entire game Holliday said that he never lost faith in his team.
“They know what they're capable of doing,” Holliday said. “I believed in them till the very end. They believed in themselves till the very end that a pitch was going to show up that we could put a barrel on and turn it around. In the end, he made a couple beautiful pitches to finish the game.”
The Cowboys face Texas Tech at 5 p.m. Saturday. OSU needs a win to force a third game as it tries for its first College World Series appearance since 2016.