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Photo by Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Oklahoma State Baseball

Cabbiness Heroics Can't Equal TCU Pitching Strength in Big 12 Title Game

May 30, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY – Every Oklahoma State fan knew that coming into the Big 12 Tournament even with the return of one-time Friday night starter Parker Scott and closer Brett Standlee the Cowboys were pitching challenged. It’s been a season of too many walks and inconsistent execution by too many of the Oklahoma State pitchers. That was the case in the Big 12 Championship Game. Having made the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game five times now in head coach Josh Holliday’s tenure and winning it in 2017 and 2019, it was hopeful the Pokes could get it done. Instead pitching really struggled and that included TCU getting their lead-off hitter on in each of the first six innings. That led to plenty of offensive opportunities for the Horned Frogs as the second seed won the tournament 10-7.

TCU (40-17) got good news during the game as they were awarded a host spot in the NCAA Regionals and likely will be a top-eight national seed.

The Cowboys finish with a 35-17-1 record and they await their selection in the NCAA Tournament announcement show at 11 a.m. on Monday morning May 31. We believe the Cowboys will be a two-seed and that it will be somewhere other than Fayetteville, Ark. as Oklahoma State fans have been frustrated in seeing in too many projections.

The big inning for TCU was the bottom of the fifth as the Frogs answered a five-run frame the Cowboys had to take the lead in the third. It started with a single by Phillip Sikes and then Conner Shepherd drew a walk from the Cowboys third pitcher Colton Bowman. Tommy Sacco struck out before nine-hole hitter Luke Boyers singled to load the bases.

That brought up lead-off hitter and leftfielder Porter Brown, who had two RBI in the second inning with a two-run single. Brown cleaned up the loaded bases as he finished the night for Bowman with a double to the wall in left-center and Sikes, Shepherd, and Boyers sprinted home to make the score 8-5.

The Cowboys brought Zach Cable in and his 95 plus miles-per-hour fastball couldn’t find the plate as he walked Zach Humphreys and Brayden Taylor. Bases loaded again and Hunter Wolfe lifted a sacrifice fly to rightfield and that scored Porter on the tag. The final run scored on a wild pitch by Cable as Humphreys raced home and it was 10-5 TCU.

The Cowboys five-run third inning featured two TCU errors up the middle of the infield as Matt Golda got on when Gray Rodgers bobbled his ground ball. After Caeden Trinkle and Max Hewitt struck out, the fun really began as Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Jake Thompson walked. Carson McCusker hit the ball hard to the middle of the infield and the Frogs shortstop Tommy Sacco one-armed it and it rolled up his arm and out into centerfield. Golda and Encarnacion-Strand both scored.

Cade Cabbiness stepped up and made sure everybody on base got home as he launched a three-run homer into the Cowboys bullpen in leftfield and Oklahoma State led 5-2. The Cowboys did most of the damage against TCU starter River Ridings and finished the inning including the Cabbiness home run off Garrett Wright.

“That was pretty emotional. That kid is representing right now and he came back this season with a purpose. He is one of the best kids that I’ve ever coached and he is the kind of kid that I want this program to be about. It was pretty emotional.”

“At the time it was pretty big,” said Cabbiness of his home run. “Carson put a good swing to get those two runs in and I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on a pretty good pitch.”

Cabbiness also had another web gem of a catch in right field. His sliding catch on a sinking line drive was indicative of his play all season and throughout his career.

“He’s the best rightfielder that I’ve ever coached, the best,” Holliday said. “He plays rightfield like he’s a shortstop.”

“I take a lot of pride and I work as hard on defense as I do on hitting,” Cabbiness echoed.

TCU came back and put two runs up in the bottom of the third on a two-run homer by Sikes, his eleventh of the season. Big 12 Freshman of the Year Brayden Taylor was on for the ride and the score was 5-4.

Boyers singled in the fourth and moved to third on a single by Humphreys and scored on a sac fly to left-center by Taylor.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Trenkle rounds third after his eighth inning home run.

After TCU took the five-run lead with the big fifth, Oklahoma State kept working it. Caeden Trenkle had a solo home run in the seventh. Then a break for the Pokes in the eighth inning as with Cabbiness on third with two outs, Matt Golda had the ball hit off his front foot and trickle on the grass toward third. Frogs third baseman Brayden Taylor had no play and Cabbiness ran by him and scored to make it 10-7. No review, but the ball clearly was off Golda’s foot and should have been a foul ball.

The Cowboys never quit and unfortunately, it was a called third strike to Carson McCusker, who had an excellent tournament that ended the ballgame.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Standlee was the best arm OSU had in the game and they finished with him.

Make no mistake, TCU outpitched Oklahoma State to win the game. The Cowboys allowed the 10 runs on nine hits using six pitchers and finishing with the steadiest in Brett Standlee. TCU allowed the seven runs on eight hits and did it with just four pitchers. They outpitched OSU.

“They’re a great team and you’ve seen it all year,” Cabbiness said. “There’s a reason they’ve been ranked as high as they have been all year. You don’t get there in a season if you don’t have depth all around, especially in the bullpen. We knew we had out work cut out for us.”

“I’m hurting right now, our kids are hurting,” Holliday said. “We woke up this morning coming to play for a title and getting into this position is hard, winning is even harder. Don’t mistake our positivity for not hurting. We are, but you have to recognize this is a step in the journey into the postseason. I like where we at and I like our chances next week.”

Three Cowboys made the All-Big 12 Tournament Team in outfielder Caeden Trenkle, third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and pitcher Justin Campbell.

Robert Allen - Pokes Report
Fans that couldn’t get in watched from the parking garage.

People kept filing up to the Bricktown Ballpark before game time, but many were cut off as there was a 50 percent attendance policy from the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Standing room tickets sold out and the attendance was 7,234. It could have been more, but still a great final showing for Oklahoma City hosting the Big 12 Tournament. It now moves to Arlington and the new Globe Life Field for the next three seasons. I have doubts about it being back in OKC.

Discussion from...

Cabbiness Heroics Can't Equal TCU Pitching Strength in Big 12 Title Game

271 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by CaliforniaCowboy
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I was able to tune in just as we blew up with the bats and got out in front 5-2. Had to go into town, and it was 10-5 for the 'Toads. I watched from then on and found myself scratching my head at two things: 1) How the umpire seemed not to call pitches that were partially in the box (maybe/probably the camera angle?), and 2) the lack of batting discipline by our batters who seemed to chase low & outside pitches. Not saying it was the reason we lost by any means, just wondering if anyone else had the same observations... Now looking forward to where we go in the regionals, really hoping that the Arkansas projections were just talking heads pontificating
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I was scratching my head wondering why we started a guy that we knew would get blown up in an inning or two, then replaced him with all those other make-shift players who also pitch, when we had the guy with the beard on the bench the whole time.

Should have started him and road it as far as it would take us....

Walton kept taking the pitchers out AFTER they got rocked for a few runs, instead of before.

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