Oklahoma St. tops W. Virginia 5-2 in Big 12 title game
By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma State had to work twice as hard to win the Big 12 title.
The Cowboys’ tournament semifinal against TCU that was originally set for Saturday night was moved to Sunday because of bad weather. That meant Oklahoma State would have to win twice on Sunday to win the championship.
The Cowboys did just that. They beat TCU in a 10-inning thriller to get to the final, then Brett Standlee gave up one run in seven innings to help Oklahoma State defeat West Virginia 5-2 in title game.
“The kids went out and delivered,” Oklahoma State coach Josh Holiday said. “I’m very proud of our ball club and very happy for our program and our school.”
The third-seeded Cowboys (36-18) won their third tournament title overall and their second in three years. Oklahoma State’s Colin Simpson was selected as Most Outstanding Player, edging out teammate Andrew Navigato.
Standlee, a 6-foot-4 redshirt freshman, was just as valuable in the final. He threw 98 pitches, including 68 strikes.
“We knew if we got to the final that someone would have to step up,” Holiday said. “Point blank. Someone’s got to step up. And Brett did.”
Fourth-seeded West Virginia (37-20) was seeking its first title since joining the conference before the 2013 season. The Mountaineers expect to make a deep NCAA Tournament run and have a chance to reach the College World Series.
“Obviously, we wanted to win the championship, but we just came short of that goal,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said.
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to hang our heads. We’re going to get back, we’re going to practice hard and we’re going to get ready for the weekend coming up.”
West Virginia’s TJ Lake scored in the third inning to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead.
The Cowboys tied the game when Jake Taylor scored on a bases-loaded walk by Colin Simpson with two outs. Navigato then doubled to score two and give the Cowboys a 3-1 lead.
West Virginia had two on and no outs in the eighth, but did not score.
“We had some guys on base and hit into a couple double plays,” Mazey said. “We hit the ball hard and it just went right to them. If those hits go between them, it’s a whole different game.”
Oklahoma State then added insurance during its half of the eighth when Carson McCusker singled to score Navigato and Alix Garcia’s single scored McCusker.
Perhaps as big as anything in the final was what the Cowboys did in Sunday’s semifinal to even qualify for the championship game.
With Oklahoma State trailing TCU 6-5 heading into the bottom of the 10th, Christian Funk led off with a single and moved to third on a fielding error. Pinch runner Noah Sifrit scored on a single by Navigato to tie the score at 6. Garcia singled to score Navigato for the winner.
“The rally in that first game created this moment for us, gave us the chance to do what we did in the second game,” Holiday said.
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