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Tough Loss in OK St Semifinal Rematch

Article by Don Strouble

The first meeting of UCF’s Big 12 Championship matchup with Oklahoma State started Thursday night and went deep into the early hours of Friday morning, as the Knights would win the 10-inning game 7-6 as the clock was about to strike 2 a.m. EST

UCF’s early morning Friday win afforded them a chance to rest up a bit as they awaited their semifinal opponent. The Pokes, on the other hand, had a 6:25 p.m. game one rematch with Texas Tech to begin their Friday evening. This matchup was as a result of their loss to UCF less than 24 hours before. 

After shutting out the Red Raiders 4-0, OSU would turn around and prepare to face UCF again, less than an hour after sending Texas Tech back home to Lubbock. 

While three games in a 24-hour period could possibly introduce a battle of attrition, the Cowboys responded to the challenge and came out of the gate swinging again. The Pokes would go on to score four runs in the first two innings behind a Nolan Schubart two run homer, as well as RBIs from second baseman Avery Ortiz and center fielder Zach Ehrhard as pressure began to mount on UCF righty Wiley Hartley.

Though the Knights were able to overcome an early 4-0 deficit early in their Thursday matchup against OSU, Friday’s game would prove to be much harder on their offense, as UCF was only able to muster two hits through the first four innings. Meanwhile, OSU would continue to tack on runs, as they put together a mammoth four run fourth inning to jump out to an 8-0 lead. 

The growing deficit would force UCF head coach Rich Wallace into his bullpen twice to get through the fourth inning. 

A sixth inning RBI double by catcher Danny Neri would get the Knights on the board and provide a brief spark, though the effort would prove to be futile as UCF would not send another runner across home plate for the remainder of the game. The Cowboys would score runs in the seventh and eighth inning as a result of hot hitter Carson Benge, and Oklahoma State would cruise to a 10-1 victory after blowing a four-run lead and losing to UCF just a day before.

Oklahoma State right hander Brian Holiday threw a complete game in the victory, despite throwing pitches that hit Danny Neri twice and Matt Prevesk once. Holiday fanned seven UCF hitters while allowing eight hits, one run, and no walks on 116 total pitches. 

With the loss, the Knights have been eliminated from the Big 12 Championship series. Rich Wallace and his team now await their NCAA Tournament fate with Selection Monday coming up. OSU will face their in-state and conference rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship game.

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