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Oklahoma State Baseball

Home Run Barrage Leads Cowboys to Complete Sweep of Redbirds in 6-0 Shutout

February 28, 2021
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STILLWATER – It was a beautiful day in Stillwater for the rubber game against Illinois State, and Oklahoma State took advantage as they completed the three-game sweep of the Redbirds, 6-0.

It marks the first sweep for the Pokes in O’Brate Stadium, as well as the first shutout on the year.

With the win, the Cowboys move to 6-0 on the season and will have a quick turnaround as they’ll face Missouri State on the road on March 2.

“Anytime you throw a shutout, that’s a great way to start it,” said coach Holliday. “The guys that pitched today did a really good job, we played clean defense and that’s always important. Then to get an early lead with Nolan [McLean’s] homerun, then to follow that up with Brock [Mathis’] homerun to go along with the two-run shot that Jake [Thompson] hit, and to score in the second as well. So, to score early and add was good, it gave us a little bit of cushion and anytime you’ve won the first two games of a series, if you can get ahead in game three, you really test the opponent.”

The impressive stat of the day? Five of the Pokes’ six runs came off home runs, one each from Nolan McLean in the bottom of the first, Brock Mathis in the bottom of the fourth and Jake Thompson in bottom of the fifth.

It was the freshman McLean who started the day off hot for the Pokes. In the three-hole in the top of the first, McLean hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot over the visitor’s bullpen in right field to put the Pokes up 1-0.

“I mean look at this guy – you’ve got a guy that’s over there with coach [Rob] Glass over [in the West End Zone] and he comes out looking like a freaking monster,” Brock Mathis said of Nolan McLean. “When that guy touches the barrel, [the ball’s] coming off there hot. He’s such a great teammate; he’s so mature for his age, you know, a young college player and just has a lot of feel. No only is he just a freak of an athlete, but he’s such a good guy

In the bottom of the second in one of the more bizarre sequences of the game, Christian Encarnacion-Strand broke for third on an Alix Garcia grounder that was fielded by Redbirds pitcher Jack Anderson. CES was caught in the rundown between second and third but made it safely to third after ISU shortstop Aidan Huggins threw the ball to the outside of the bag. He’d score on the next at bat when Brock Mathis hit a sacrifice fly to center field, putting the Pokes up 2-0.

Mathis would turn around in his next at bat in the bottom of the fourth and hit his second home run in two days as he recorded his third RBI on the day. It was an impressive homer as it cut through the 16 MPH wind out of left field and landed in the OSU bullpen. He’d finish the day going 1-2 at the play with three RBIs and one home run.

“It’s obviously a great feeling,” said Mathis. “It’s just another series for us as a team, but to be able to do things like that, but the amount of time that Josh [Holliday] and the guys have put in on me and my swing and just really believing in myself and having that right mentality has really changed a lot for me. I’m just really staying humble with it and just want to keep going and keep moving forward.”

In the bottom of the fifth, Jake Thompson hit his first homerun of the season, a two-run bomb into the student section to put the Pokes up 6-0.

While it wasn’t in line with the other homers on the day, Alix Garcia extended his hitting streak to six games.

Aside from the barrage of homers, the Pokes left only three runners on base and had an excellent day on the mound. Freshman Bryce Osmond got the start for the Pokes as he went 5.0 innings with three strikeouts with three hits and two walks. C.J. Varela, Tucker Elliot and Roman Phansalkar combined for four scoreless innings and gave up just four hits between the four.

“I was pretty happy with throwing up five innings [with] no runs,” said Osmond. “There’s always room for improvement, got to tighten some stuff up, but I just had a good time out there. It’s nice to be back at O’Brate and competing with a great group of guys, so all in all I was pretty pleased with today.”

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Home Run Barrage Leads Cowboys to Complete Sweep of Redbirds in 6-0 Shutout

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