The No. 8 Oklahoma State Cowboys used four home runs against left-hander Pete Hansen and a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning to beat the No. 10 Texas Longhorns 8-6 at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday.
In the battle of Friday aces, Oklahoma State right-hander Justin Campbell got the better of Hansen despite only making it through five innings and allowing four runs on eight hits as Campbell was able to get out of jams and Hansen couldn’t keep the Cowboys inside the confines of the Disch.
First baseman Ivan Melendez did his best to keep the Longhorns in the game, going 4-for-5 with a home run, but Texas wasn’t able to draw a walk, runners struggled to get on base in front of Melendez, and the two hits from right fielder Murphy Stehly behind Melendez were two singles that only produced one run. Two home runs from third baseman Skyler Messinger helped the Horns overcome two deficits after Melendez tied it in the fourth, it just wasn’t enough.
Apologies for the redundancy here, but it was another windy day at the Disch, blowing out to left field. And while an Oklahoma State lineup heavy with left-handers didn’t project as an favorable matchup for the Pokes against Hansen, it played out that way as Oklahoma State hitters adopted an opposite-field approach that got two home runs up into the jet stream and two home runs to right field, a much more difficult task.
In fact, with Hansen entering the game having allowed eight home runs this season, a full 42.1 percent of his earned runs entering the game, not even accounting for any runners on base during those home runs, it was a smart approach and it worked. Hansen was able to work through seven innings, but allowed six runs on nine hits with six strikeouts, unable to locate his pitches consistently enough to overcome the Oklahoma State lineup and the unfavorable weather conditions.
In the second inning, left-handed hitter David Mendham hit a home run out to left field, left-handed hitter Jake Thompson hit a two-run shot in a three-run fifth inning, Mendham hit his second in the sixth, and right-handed hitter Nolan McLean went through the wind to right field in the at bat after Mendham.
Texas got on the board to tie the game in the fourth inning when Melendez capitalized on the poor decision by Oklahoma State to call a 2-0 fastball by Campbell. Melendez was sitting on it and didn’t miss, sending his 22nd home run out over the left-field wall.
And the Longhorns also responded after going down in the fifth inning when Messinger hit his sixth home run of the season.
Left fielder Dylan Campbell followed with a double, advanced to third on a flyout to right field by second baseman Mitchell Daly, and scored on a groundout by shortstop Trey Faltine. A double by center fielder Douglas Hodo III to left center set up an RBI by designated hitter Austin Todd, who singled to center field to tie the game again.
Hansen couldn’t hold the lead, but the Horns got one back in the seventh when Todd reached on a throwing error, Melendez singled, and Stehly brought Todd home with a single to left field, making it 6-5 Oklahoma State.
Regularly playing a shift with the second baseman behind the bag paid off for the Cowboys in the inning when catcher Silas Ardoin hit a ball hard up the middle fielded and turned into a double play to end the frame.
Messinger tied in the eighth with a leadoff home run to left field, besting his career total of six at Kansas, truly unlocking the power the Texas coaching staff worked to develop with him.
But right-hander Aaron Nixon wasn’t able to get Texas into the bottom of the ninth with the lead, hitting the first batter in the top of the inning and then giving up a base hit. A poor bunt attempt allowed Nixon to get the lead runner at third and Campbell secured the second out on a fly ball in left field, but Zach Ehrhad hit an elevated fastball from Nixon into the left-center gap and even Campbell’s speed wasn’t enough to get there to end the inning.
So when the Longhorns weren’t able to get anything going in the bottom of the inning, the Cowboys took the crucial series opener.
The two teams return to the Disch on Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. Central first pitch on Longhorn Network.