OKLAHOMA CITY – One pitch. One swing. One bat toss.
Three runs. One victory.
With just a single pitch, Trevor Boone hit a bomb that propelled Oklahoma State’s baseball team to an improbable, come-from-behind victory. Boone’s two-out, ninth-inning blast into the large letters above and beyond the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark left-field wall electrified the OSU faithful who were just waiting for a moment to go crazy during the Cowboys’ second NCAA Regional game.
Boone’s go-ahead home run gave OSU a 6-5 win over Nebraska, which dominated most of Saturday night’s contest. It pushed OSU into the regional final – set for 5 p.m. Sunday – and forced Nebraska to face Connecticut at noon Sunday for the right to play OSU again.
“One of the best moments I’ve ever been in a uniform for to share with a group of guys,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “… It was a special win. It was a great night, obviously. You are in the winners bracket against a very good team and really proud of the kids. These guys deserve the floor.”
Heading into the ninth, OSU trailed 5-2 after leaving two runners in scoring position in the eighth inning. Leadoff hitter Max Hewitt, who entered the game in the fourth inning following an injury to second baseman Hueston Morrill, earned a one-out walk in the top of the ninth.
Christian Funk followed with a single before Colin Simpson hit a deep fly ball to center field, which allowed Hewitt to take third base. One batter later, Andrew Navigato hit an RBI single to score Hewitt.
The Cowboys were still down two runs and down to their final out.
The Tulsa native who led OSU with 19 home runs, which ranked tied for 15th in the country entering Saturday, before his final at-bat of the game, didn’t wait long to leave his mark on Cornhusker fans.
He needed just one pitch – a fastball. Boone drilled the pitch and the rest was history.
“I was just taking the feedback from my teammates,” Boone said. “Me and Josh talked about it before. He said just don’t try to do too much, stay within yourself and be you and if you get a good fastball here, put a good swing on it. I was looking at my teammates and they were encouraging me and I was feeding off them. The whole game we were feeding off (pitcher Jake) Lyons. We stuck together and good things happened.”
While Boone’s blast gave OSU a lead, it wasn’t a walk-off win. The Cowboys still needed to record three outs defensively to beat Nebraska.
Enter Ben Leeper.
His previous outing was disastrous. Tied 6-6 after seven innings against TCU in the Big 12 Tournament exactly seven days earlier, Leeper allowed four hits and four runs without recording an out in a 13-6 loss.
Saturday, he fed off the crowd’s energy to pitch lights out. He faced only three batters, and allowed no hits. He left the final batter looking at a game-ending strikeout.
“We are down going into the inning and Trevor hits that home run and we go up and I’m having to rush,” Leeper said. “We are up one with two outs and I have to get going. I jog out there and everyone is roaring and going crazy with every pitch I throw and every out I get it gets louder and louder.
"You get to two strikes on the last batter and you got 7,000 people on their feet wanting the game to end and feel like it’s my responsibility to end the game. It was fun and glad we got the win tonight.”