OKLAHOMA CITY–Colin Simpson was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle as he led No.8 Oklahoma State to an 8-4 victory over No.4 West Virginia University on Thursday on day two of the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.
Braden Zarbnisky went 4-for-4 with one RBI for the Mountaineers (33-23).
For the Cowboys (28-25), Simpson went 4-for-5 with five RBI. He scored three runs.
“When we left Stillwater earlier this year, we gave their catcher the nickname of Homer Simpson,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “He lived up to the billing today again. He’s like I said yesterday. Some people play really good on a certain field like we do. He just feels so comfortable at the plate against us. That guy’s killed us.”
BJ Myers (4-4) lasted just two innings. The Mountaineers’ starter surrendered two runs on four hits.
His mound opponent Tyler Buffett (6-5) pitched 5.1 innings. He gave up four runs on 12 hits.
Myers issued a walk to Ryan Cash to begin the game. With two outs, Simpson drove a bomb to right center, giving Oklahoma State a 2-0 lead.
In the second, the Mountaineers had a chance to make some noise. A leadoff double, a base hit and a walk loaded the bases with just one out but Brandon White went down on strikes and Kyle Gray hit a ground ball to second to end the inning.
The Cowboys picked up another run in the fourth.
WVU got the run back in the bottom of the fourth. Zarbnisky singled and then stole second. He moved to third on Chase Illig’s groundout and scored on Brandon White’s groundout.
However, Oklahoma State responded in the fifth. Simpson led off the inning with a double and scored on Dustin Williams’ base hit. Ryan Sluder’s single to left plated Williams and extended the lead to 5-1.
With two outs, back-to-back singles from Cramer and Kyle Davis put runners at the corners for the Mountaineers. Zarbnisky’s single through the left side cut the deficit to 5-2.
But Simpson continued to dominate the WVU pitching staff, blasting a three-run homer to center and pushing the Cowboys’ advantage to 8-2 in the sixth.
As usual, the Mountaineers refused to go away quietly. Kyle Gray led off the the bottom half with a walk and advanced to third on Ivan Gonzalez’s single. Gray scored on Hill’s base hit up the middle and a sacrifice fly from Cole Austin drove home Gonzalez and made it an 8-4 ballgame.
In the seventh, Zarbnisky singled with one out but was picked off first. Carson Teel pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and ninth for Oklahoma State.
The two teams combined for 24 hits on the day.
WVU is currently 7-7 all-time in the Big 12 Championship.
No. 8 seeds are currently 23-33 all-time in the Big 12 Championship. No. 4 seeds are currently 40-30 all-time in the Big 12 Championship
The Mountaineers will square off against Texas Tech on Friday in the loser’s bracket. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. (ET).
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS