The first pitch only started Wyatt Cheney’s troubles on the mound.
After a first-pitch ball, Cheney proceeded to strike out the opening batter, getting him swinging on a dipping ball with a full count.
The next batter needed four pitches to crush a ball over the right field wall. What seemed like a promising start began looking worrisome.
In Oklahoma State baseball’s 11-8 loss against Missouri State, the Cowboys batters kept the game alive during the early pitching hardships.
After Cheney hit the next batter, Missouri State designated hitter Jaden Rolffs lined the first pitch into the OSU bullpen. The Bears seemed to be catching the Cowboys in another catastrophic inning.
Cheney walked the next batter to put the pressure back on, before getting out of the inning with a fly-out to right field.
The deficit didn’t last long.
Leadoff hitter Caeden Trenkle doubled into left field on the second pitch. The next delivery hit Jake Thompson, opening a pathway for Nolan McLean. The freshman smoked a pitch over the center field wall to tie the game.
Trenkle also hit a home run in the fourth inning to take the lead.
“I think that was kind of a turning point for us in the middle innings because I think it was tied at 3,” Trenkle said. “So, to be able to have that swing and grab that lead back was big for the confidence at that point.”
Surviving the second inning, OSU (12-6-1 overall, 1-2 in Big 12) called on Kale Davis to get out of a jam in the third inning. Davis recorded three strikeouts in the inning, including one with the bases loaded while preserving the tie.
Missouri State (7-8) did get on base, and turned the runners into runs. That’s in part due to the Cowboys delving into their bullpen early, where they got solid contributions from Davis and Colton Bowman.
As the jam grew concerning, the Cowboys went back to the bullpen with little avail. The Bears had bases loaded moments in four innings, scoring from walks on four occasions.
“Not our best night, but we’ll do better,” Holliday said. “And those kids are all good pitchers and we need them and we believe in them. Some nights baseball is tough. Tonight was one of those nights.”
When the trouble mounted, OSU went to Roman Phansalkar to steer the Cowboys clear of harm. He forced a ground ball, but the hit squeezed through the infield to allow the fourth Bears run.
A walk immediately afterward finished his evening. Two pitchers later, OSU trailed 9-8.
OSU couldn’t catch up afterward.
In total, Missouri State earned 10 walks and had batters hit by four pitches. The Cowboys used eight pitchers in the defeat.
“We just had one bad inning tonight,” Holliday said. “And that proved to be the difference. So, as a team, we’ve just got to keep working and finding different ways to rally the troops.”