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Big 12 Tournament Game Recap: Oklahoma State Advances

 Matt Tallarini  |    May 25th, 2024 9:04am EDT

Photo Courtesy of Big12

Arlington, Texas – In the fourth and final game at Globe Life Field in the second semifinal game on Friday, the No. 2 seed Oklahoma State University Cowboys beat the No. 8 seed University of Central Florida Knights 10-1 and advanced to the Big 12 Conference championship game for the first time.

Oklahoma State will play in-state rival Oklahoma in the 2024 Big 12 Conference title game on May 25 at Globe Life Field at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU.

Oklahoma State junior right-handed starting pitcher Brian Holiday from Tampa, Fla., threw a complete game against the UCF offense chucking nine innings, allowing eight hits, two doubles, 10 flyouts, nine groundouts, one earned run, and seven strikeouts, while facing 37 batters.

“That was big, and then Brian has been as consistent as possible. He’s been as tough as I can remember in quite some time. He has some of the most strong and redeemable qualities as a competitor that I’ve ever seen. And on the days he’s not pitching, he’s equally one of the finest teammates I’ve ever seen. When he pitches, we feel strong; he has that kind of presence to him,” Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday said during the post-game press conference.

Holiday dialed 116 pitches and 63 strikes on Friday night against the Knights and improved his record to 6-3 for the season.

Oklahoma State University jumped on the scoreboard right out of the gate in the bottom of the first inning with Nolan Schubart popping a two-run home run over the right field wall for his 18th of the season, scoring Carson Benge to make it 2-0.

During the bottom of the second inning, the Cowboys plated two runs to the board with Avery Ortiz slashing a double down the left field line, scoring designated hitter Kollin Ritchie to extend the lead to 3-0.

A few batters later, Oklahoma State center fielder Zach Ehrhard pounded a triple down the left field line, scoring Ortiz to make it 4-0.

UCF head coach Rich Wallace went to his bullpen early in the top of the fourth inning and did not have starting pitcher Wiley Hartley come out to start the inning, as he called on relief pitcher Chase Centala.

Hartely threw three innings, allowed four hits, four earned runs, one walk, five strikeouts, and faced 14 batters while dialing 69 pitches.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Cowboys ignited four more runs to the scoreboard, starting with Ortiz ripping a single through the left side of the infield and scoring Lane Forsythe to make it 5-0.

Centala did not hold up during the bottom of the fourth inning as Wallace had to come out of the dugout and call on relief pitcher Kris Sosnaski after he walked Cowboys catcher Charlie Carter and hit Zach Ehrhard.

A few batters later, Carson Benge grounded out to second base, scoring Ortiz to extend the lead to 6-0.

Schubart, being the next batter, continued his hot bat and drove a two-run single to right field, scoring Carter and Ehrhard to make it 8-0.

The UCF offense got their only run of the game in the top of the seventh inning with catcher Danny Nieri ripping a double down the right field line and scoring designated hitter Matt Cedarburg to make it 8-1.

Benge continued his hot bat at the 2024 Big 12 Conference tournament and launched his 17th home run of the season to make it 9-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Cowboys strung their tenth run of the game in the bottom of eight, with Benge once again rocking an RBI single into left field, scoring Ortiz to stamp a 10-1 lead.

Holiday came back out for the ninth inning to help the Cowboys clinch a date to the 2024 Big 12 Conference championship game and got UCF second baseman Andrew Brait to strikeout looking to end the game-winning 10-1 and keeping their automatic bid hopes for the 2024 NCAA tournament alive.

“I’m confident right now, and I’m confident with the boys behind me. Like Coach said, early when that ball got up out of here, it allowed us to be loose, and it really showed us what we could do offensively when we’re comfortable. The past couple of days, we’ve been struggling to find the pieces and get those clutch hits,” Schubart said during the post-game press conference.

Oklahoma State bounced back from their first 2024 Big 12 Conference tournament loss on Wednesday night against UCF 8-7 in 10 innings at Globe Life Field.

“I think we proved that we can hold our own in this league and to win 16 games in this league, first year in it, and then win six out of 10 conference series in the league. I think we proved that we can play in this league and compete in this league and play with the top athletes in this league,” Wallace said during the post-game press conference.

Cowboys starting pitcher Sam Garcia notched his seventh win of the season against the Texas Tech University Raiders on Friday, helping build momentum for the pitching staff going up against UCF.

Garcia threw Cowboys senior southpaw starting Sam Garcia pitched lights out against the Texas Tech offense and gemmed eight innings with no walks, allowing three hits, eight strikeouts, 11 flyouts, and five groundouts before Oklahoma State’s second win on Friday night.

UCF won the first two games of their three-game series against Oklahoma State at home in Orlando from Mar. 15-17.

This will be the first time Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will play each other in the Big 12 Conference championship game.

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have been in the Big 12 Conference since the 1997 regular season.

In the final week of the 2024 regular season, Oklahoma is ranked No. 8 in the nation, and Oklahoma State is ranked No. 19.

Oklahoma State advanced with an overall record of 38-17 for the season and a conference record of 20-9.

Oklahoma’s record is 37-18, with their conference record at 23-7.

Oklahoma won its first regular season title in the Big 12 in 2024, after joining the conference in 1997.

Oklahoma won the Big 8 Conference regular-season title in 1931, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, and 1986 before joining the Big 12 Conference.

Oklahoma won one Big 8 Conference championship in 1977.

Oklahoma has won three Big 12 Conference championship titles in 1997, 2013, and 2022.

The Sooners won the Big 12 Conference championship title in 2022, the first year that the event was held at Globe Life Field.

The Cowboys were the second seed last year at the 2023 Big 12 Conference championship tournament and lost in the championship game to the No. 4 seed TCU Horned Frogs 12-5.

Oklahoma State University has won three Big 12 Conference championship titles in 2004, 2017, and 2019.

UCF finished the 2024 regular season with an overall record of 35-19 and a Big 12 Conference record of 14-15, which was their first year in the conference after being in the American Athletic Conference since 2013.

The University of Houston, Brigham Young University, and the University of Cincinnati were also in the first year of the Big 12 Conference for the 2024 season.

Cincinnati, ranked No.8 in the Big 12 Conference, finished with an overall record of 32-25 and a conference record of 17-13. They lost 10-5 on Wednesday to Texas Tech University at Globe Life Field in the 2024 Big 12 tournament.

Houston did not make the 2024 Big 12 Conference tournament with its overall record of 26-28 and conference record of 7-21, and BYU ended in last place in the 13-program conference with its conference record of 7-23 and overall record of 21-31.

The University of Central Florida’s RPI is 32. They will have to see if they are in the 64-team field for the 2024 NCAA tournament to see if they punch their ticket to the 2024 NCAA Division I College Baseball Championship Selection Show on ESPN2 at 12 p.m. EST.

The Sooners and the Cowboys will play for the 2024 Big 12 Conference championship title on Saturday, May 25, at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU. An automatic bid to the 2024 NCAA tournament is on the line.

The 2024 NCAA Division I tournament starts with the Regionals from Friday, May 31, until Monday, June 3. The Super Regionals, Friday-Sunday, will have two separate dates: Friday, June 7, until Sunday, June 9, and Saturday, June 8, until Monday, June 10.

The first day of the 2024 NCAA Division I College World at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Neb., will start Friday, June 14, and go until Monday, June 24, if there is a third game in the best-of-three National Championship Series.

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Matt Tallarini
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network. Matt played semi-professional baseball with the Pelham Mets in Pelham, New York for four years, including the 2018 Semi Pro World Series. During the pandemic, Matt began engaging with international baseball, as a way to keep connected to the sport. Matt created the World Baseball Network and its signature website, WorldBaseball.com as a way to promote and inform similar likeminded fans about the players, teams and leagues innovating the sport of baseball and feeding into Major League Baseball (MLB). As a result of Matt’s efforts, World Baseball Network is now the benchmark standard for international baseball coverage, including MLB, MiLB, NCAA, Korea, Japan, Caribbean, Baseball United, WBC, WBSC and more. In a short time, Matt has interviewed a who’s who of global baseball legends and coaches. These include: Former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera; Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman; former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams; Mickey Callaway former MLB manager; Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach; Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics; Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player; Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs; Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals; and Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matt Tallarini is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance. Since its inception, Matt has been the Chief Correspondent for World Baseball Network. Matt has interviewed and interacted with many international players and coaches including former Yankee closer Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera, Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman, former Yankee Luis Sojo veteran of four Yankee World series teams, Mickey Callaway former MLB manager, Paul Mainieri LSU National Championship coach, Eric Holtz manager Team Israel of the 2020 Olympics, Ian Kinsler former MLB player and now Israel national team player, Harold Ramirez of the Tampa Bay Rays formerly with the Indians and Cubs, Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron current USA Baseball advisor former-MLB outfielder. Matthew is 2015 graduate of Mitchell College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and a 2022 graduate of Iona University with a Masters in Finance.