Trevor Boone wasn’t sure where the ball landed.
He couldn’t recall what he said when his bat made contact with it, and he didn’t dwell on the number of home runs he has this season. For Boone, none of those details mattered when compared to the bigger picture: he helped the Oklahoma State baseball team get one victory closer to a spot in a super regional.
Despite early struggles, the Cowboys slipped past Nebraska 6-5 late Saturday night in the NCAA Baseball Oklahoma City Regional. OSU will either face UConn or have a rematch with the Huskers at 5 p.m. Sunday. If the Cowboys win, they will advance to super regional play.
“We just stuck together, and good things happened,” Boone said.
With two outs in the ninth inning, OSU trailed Nebraska 5-3 and had runners on first and second. Boone, a junior center fielder, stepped up to bat and prepared for the first pitch. When Colby Gomes delivered a fastball, Boone blasted it to left field for his 20th home run this season.
Although Boone completed the Cowboys’ comeback, it wasn’t a one-man effort. Jake Lyons, a junior reliever, pitched for six innings and earned the win. He allowed two runs in the third but surrendered none after that and struck out six.
“Mostly, I was just trusting my fastball,” Lyons said. “Curveball really wasn’t there to start off, but coming in after, between innings, kind of talking to Rob (Walton, pitching coach) how I could adjust it (helped), same thing with my cutter.”
The Cowboys fell into an early 5-0 deficit. Aaron Palensky smashed a three-RBI home run to left field against OSU starter Parker Scott, and Gomes hit a two-RBI single in the third.
Although the Cowboys left nine on base and struck out 12 times, including 11 strikeouts against dominant starter Matt Waldron, they didn’t surrender.
Carson McCusker, a junior left fielder, put OSU on the scoreboard with a solo home run in the sixth. Bryce Carter added an RBI double in the eighth, and Navigato tacked on an RBI single in the ninth. After the Cowboys took the lead, Ben Leeper pitched in the bottom of the ninth and ensured they didn’t lose control.
“We just try and stay positive,” Boone said. “We’re just a band of brothers who like to play baseball, so any time we get a chance to go out there and play baseball, it’s a fun time. We just tried to stay positive with feeding off Jake.”