STILLWATER — After the Wildcats struck early in the game, they were held in check by Kenton Bevacqua who pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. The lefthander scattered four hits and struck out two. Vince Wheeland continued the effort, holding the Wildcats scoreless in the last 2 2/3 innings.
“The story was Kenton Bevacqua’s middle relief,” coach Josh Holliday said. “We were down and he kept us in the game and gave us time to catch back up.”
“(Bevacqua) struggled lately,” Whaley said. “He came out today and felt his stuff and trusted his pitches. I was glad to see that.”
Toward the later innings, some of the crowd from the spring football game came in and packed the ballpark. Holliday said that had a major impact on the team.
“When people make you feel what you are doing is important, it increases the responsibility your players feel to honor tradition and live up to expectations,” Holliday said.
In the bottom of the eighth, catcher Victor Romero reached after he was hit by a Gerardo Esquivel pitch. It looked like Kansas State was going to escape as Robbie Rea bounced a bunt that resulted in a double play. Zach Fish fell behind 1-2 in the count but quickly turned the momentum in Oklahoma State’s favor as he blasted a game-tying home run over the left-center field fence.
“I wasn’t just trying to get on base,” Fish said. “We needed a rally to start at that point. I wasn’t just looking for a pitch I could drive. I was looking for a pitch that was up and something that I could get a hold of.”
Whaley followed with his third hit of the game with a double to right field. Jarrett Higgins replaced him as a pinch runner. Corey Hassel followed with a walk. Leadoff hitter Saxon hit the third pitch of the bat through the hole between short and third for a single. Higgins’ hustled home, narrowly beating the throw to give Oklahoma State the lead.
“I’m proud of Trey for hanging in there,” Holliday said. “The beginning of the season, he didn’t get many at-bats and it wasn’t going well for him. He and I had several conversations about staying positive and staying with it and his time would come. When he has got his time he has done a nice job with it.”