OSU headed to College World Series

Behind a solid pitching effort by Tyler Buffett, Oklahoma State downed South Carolina 3-1 Sunday to earn at trip the College World Series in Omaha.

The Cowboys are back in the College World Series for the first time since 1999. OSU will play The University of California-Santa Barbara in the opening round this weekend.

Joining the Cowboys in Bracket 2 (double elimination) in Omaha are Arizona and Miami.

The College World Series berth marks the 20th in OSU baseball history, which ranks as the sixth most on the NCAA’s all-time list.

OSU is now 41-20 on the season, which includes a 5-0 mark in NCAA tournament play as the Cowboys swept three games at the NCAA Clemson Regional before winning two-straight contests in the Super Regional.

“We’re very humbled to have come here and played well enough to advance to the College World Series,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “It’s an amazing journey. It pulls a lot of things out of you along the way… It’s very special to our school. Having been a program with amazing baseball history, to have not gone since 1999, to go back gives us a feeling of being whole again from the baseball standpoint.

“The credit goes to the players. They took the opportunity to go on the road together against a challenging bracket. Nobody thought anything about this team. We gave up two nine-spots in the eighth inning of the conference tournament. People were down on us, and these kids turned their focus to getting better and they went out for the past two weeks and have played beautiful baseball. They are writing a script that they’ll never forget, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

On Sunday against South Carolina (46-18), the Cowboys scored all three of their runs in the fifth inning. The first 4 1/2 innings were a pitcher’s duel between Buffett and USC starter Clarke Schmidt.

For the second-straight game, Buffett tied a career high with seven innings pitched, and he threw a career-high 116 pitches in 96-degree heat. The pitcher finished with four strikeouts and one walk and improved to 8-3 on the season. “I never lost confidence in the guys behind me, my catcher and my pitching coach,” Buffett said. “I knew the right pitches were going to be going down, and the couple hits that they got, it seemed like I made a good pitch and they just found a hole. It was really just a matter of telling myself to keep making pitches and trust that the guys behind me are going to make plays.”

Texas Tech will face Texas A&M, Arizona will play Miami and Coastal Carolina will play either Florida or Florida State in other first round action.