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Oklahoma State Baseball

Cowboys Give O'Brate The Opening It Deserved With 7-2 Win

February 24, 2021
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STILLWATER – Just a tad bit chilly, but that is early season college baseball at Oklahoma State that greeted the stadium’s namesake Cecil O’Brate as he went to the mound to throw out the first pitch. The shiny new home of the Cowboys is quite possibly one of the finest stadiums in the history of college baseball.

Robert Allen - Pokes Report
The first pitch from Cecil O’Brate.

Mr. O’Brate bounced his first pitch in the grass a little bit, but everything else was on target for the first game in the new ballpark. The attendance was limited to 25 percent (2,635) and was responsibly spaced except maybe the outfield where a lot of the fraternity and sorority fans were taking up residence. You can’t blame them as it was a little chilly and a little breezy in right field particularly.

Just imagine the pressure on Josh Holliday and his Cowboys to deliver the win. The last time Oklahoma State opened a new baseball park with Allie P. Reynolds in 1981 they opened it in the middle of the season and Missouri ruined the debut of the ballpark.

“It was awesome! It was cool all day long,” said right fielder Cade Cabbiness. “it was weird and today I woke up with all kind of jitters.”

“Tremendous crowd and a lot of firsts and a day I’ll never forget,” Holliday said. “About 30 minutes before first pitch there wasn’t much going on and I kind of walked around and took it in. I saw some friendly familiar faces to wave to. I enjoyed listening to the players talking about what was going on. Then it got a little emotional and I shut it down for later.”

No such issue with O’Brate Stadium as the Cowboys broke out a big inning in the bottom of the second as first baseman Alix Garcia drew a one-out walk, Cade Cabbiness lined the ball to the gap in left-center for the first extra base hit in the new yard. Runners on second and third and Hueston Morrill hits a sharp groundball past third base for an RBI single off Little Rock starter Erik McKnight. Oklahoma State led 1-0.

McKnight contributed to his own demise and soon to be exit as he threw the ball in the dirt to first after Matt Golda bunted the ball back to him. The error scored Cabbiness to make it 2-0. Caden Trenkle blooped a single into short right-center and that scored Morrill to make it 3-0.

The hits just kept on coming and big left fielder Jake Thompson hammered the ball into left field for a single scoring Golda. The scoring ended with freshman Nolan McLean, who spent the fall with Oklahoma State’s football squad as a quarterback, with a single deeper into the left-center alley. That scored Trenkle for the 5-0 Oklahoma State lead.

“That is always good when you get the first run but then when score five runs that puts the other team on their heels and they have to be pretty courageous to fight back from a five-run deficit,” said Holliday of building that early lead.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Justin Campbell didn’t get the win but was effective as the starter.

In the top of the third starting pitcher Justin Campbell looked a little too loose with the lead as he walked the bases loaded. He got the pitcher’s best friend when with no outs, Little Rock second baseman Chris Prentiss hit a sharp ground ball to the Cowboys shortstop Morrill and he started the 6-4-3 traditional twin killing. Kobe Barnum scored from third on the double play, but it was the only run given up after the bases were loaded.   

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Garcia congratulated after the home run in the fifth inning.

Every Oklahoma State fan was hoping that the Gap Band would play in the first game at O’Brate Stadium and first baseman Alix Garcia made that happen in the bottom of the fifth inning. Oddly enough, just before Garcia, Christian Encanarcion-Strand hit the ball to the track in right just in front of the Little Rock bullpen and right fielder Noah Dickerson made a nice play on it.

Garcia then hit the ball just a little harder as Dickerson climbed the chain link fence in front of the pen but the ball cleared his glove by about seven feet into the bullpen. The Gap Band chimed in with “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and everything was the way it was supposed to be as the Pokes led 6-1.

 

“It was a pretty cool feeling. I definitely didn’t think it was going to be me,” said Garcia a fifth-year senior. “We have such a stacked line-up. It was kind of tough because I kind of blacked out running the bases. I was not expecting to do it. It was a big surprise.”

Garcia said it was a fastball away and Josh Holliday said he was surprised to see that with the wind blowing in from left and left center that it pushed balls in right and gave them a home run opportunity.

The visitors got their bomb minus the music in the top of the sixth inning when Canyon McWilliams wrapped a line drive around the inside of the right field foul pole for a solo home run and the score was 6-2.

The Cowboys added a run in the bottom of the sixth when Nolan McLean scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-2 Oklahoma State 

Offensively, Trenkle and McLean had two-hit games for the Pokes. Garcia had the only home run. 

“I’m really proud of Alix and with Cade Cabbiness having the first hit,” Holliday said. “Those are two fifth-year seniors, older guys that came back and I think part of that was to play in this stadium.”

On the mound Campbell started and pitched four innings giving up one run on two hits and he walked four. Wyatt Cheney pitched two innings and gave up the home run to McWilliams. John Kelly, Colton Bowman, and Brett Standlee provided additional relief it was the bearded Standlee that struck out Tim Dixon on four pitches to end the game. Oklahoma State goes to 3-0 with the 7-2 win. 

The Cowboys will take a day off and then comeback and really break in the new ballpark with a three-game series with Illinois State. The Friday and Saturday games will start at 4 p.m. and the first pitch on Sunday will be at 1 p.m.

Discussion from...

Cowboys Give O'Brate The Opening It Deserved With 7-2 Win

860 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 6 mo ago by TUSKAPOKE
Joe Khatib
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Fire up the Gap Band for Alix Garcia, Boom Baby, You dropped a bomb on me.
TUSKAPOKE
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WHAT A STADIUM!!! WOW!!! Watched on ESPN+ and look forward to trying to get to a game or two this year. Fun to watch the Cowboys win in their new home.
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