Title slips away

Tigers end seven-game winning streak but still
might receive at-large berth in NCAA Tournament
Monday, May 31, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:39 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson might not have agreed with the explanation for some of the weird things that happened, but there was no arguing his description of the game.

“What a game! It was a good game for a lot of reasons,” Anderson said. “It was a strange game.”

Oklahoma State (37-22) beat Missouri 10-9 in 13 innings Sunday for its first Big 12 Conference Tournament title and an automatic NCAA tournament berth.

Kyle West started the 13th by reaching on a two-base error, then scored the go-ahead run on Keanon Simon’s sacrifice fly. Pinch-runner Justin Vinyard scored the tying run on a passed ball with two outs in the ninth for the Cowboys, who trailed 9-2 going into the eighth.

Missouri (37-21-1) will find out today if it gets an at-large NCAA spot after its first Big 12 title game. The game featured a grand slam that was ruled a three-run single after a rare coach’s interference call. The lost run proved costly.

“This was a tough game to lose, especially the way we battled,” said Tigers coach Tim Jamieson. “I could give (the NCAA selection committee) 100 reasons why we should go and only a couple of why we shouldn’t.”

The Tigers entered the Big 12 as a No. 7 seed. They had won seven straight before Sunday, though, including a three-game sweep of Oklahoma State last weekend to end the regular season.

James Boone had five RBIs, including the apparent grand slam that turned into a single after the coach’s interference call. He was involved in another strange scoring play after a two-run single in the first.

After three straight walks in the third, Boone hit a ball into the left-field seats. As he was about to round first, though, coach Tony Vitello grabbed him to keep him from passing another runner.

While he never past the other runner, Boone was ruled out. He was credited with a three-run single and Missouri led 6-2.

“I don’t hit too many home runs, so I wasn’t jogging out of the box. I was watching the ball,” Boone said. “Unfortunately, that run could have cost us the game.”

Oklahoma State got within 9-7 with a five-run eighth. Simon had an RBI single after a throwing error allowed two runs to score and before Rusty Ryal’s RBI single.

Josh Fields led off the ninth with his 10th home run, and Jason Jaramillo drew a four-pitch walk. Vinyard came on as a pinch-runner, moving to third on an infield hit and an error before Brad Flanders’ passed ball.

Lee Laskowski dropped West’s flyball to left to start the 13th. Laskowski initially took a step back and then slipped as he tried to recover. The ball hit his glove, then fell to the ground.

Scott Kirby’s bunt sent West to third, and then two intentional walks loaded the bases before Simon’s sac fly.

“I was just thinking get the ball out of the infield,” Simon said. “Not much crossed my mind. I got the opportunity and did my job.”

Thomas Cowley (7-3), the fifth Cowboys pitcher, worked 4 1/3 shutout innings four days after a complete-game win against Texas A&M in the tournament opener. Dane Mason allowed only a single in the 13th and got his first save.

Nick Admire (4-2) pitched the final inning for Missouri.

After the grand slam was taken away, the Tigers built a 9-2 lead on Laskowski’s RBI single in the fifth and Trevor Helms’ two-run home run an inning later.

Oklahoma State led 2-0 after consecutive two-out RBI singles by Jaramillo and Kirby in the first.

Boone tied the game with a two-run single, then on the next play failed to tag up on a flyball on which left fielder Kirby was credited with a putout, an error and an assist.

Kirby caught Brad Flanders’ flyball near the wall, but the ball slipped out of his hand as he threw and rolled away. The error allowed Cody Ehlers to score from second for a 3-2 lead, but Boone never tagged at first and was retired on a 7-6-2-3 play for the third out.

Anderson argued that the run shouldn’t have been allowed because the play involved a forceout. He lost the argument, but the Cowboys won in their first Big 12 tournament championship appearance.

“You can’t measure how huge this is for our program at this point,” Anderson said. “You can measure all of the success in the past, but this is a big deal for us right now.”

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