COLUMBIA, S.C. — Game 1 of the 2016 NCAA Columbia Super Regional went to Oklahoma State on Saturday as the Cowboys topped South Carolina, 5-1, at Founders Park. With the loss, the Gamecocks need to win the final two games of the Super Regional to advance to the College World Series.
Both pitching staffs largely dominated the game on a sweltering hot afternoon at Founders Park. But Oklahoma State (40-20) homered twice, including a three-run shot in the 9th inning that provided the difference in the opening game of the Super Regional.
Thomas Hatch (8-2) earned the win for Oklahoma State, keeping the Gamecocks (46-17) off the scoreboard in 7.0 innings of work. He allowed four hits and struck out three. Braden Webb (10-6) suffered the loss; he allowed six hits and two runs (one earned) in 7.2 innings while fanning five.
Trey Cobb pitched the final two innings for Oklahoma State and earned the save. It was his fourth of the season.
Ryan Sluder and Collin Theroux hit the home runs for Oklahoma State, while Dom Thompson-Williams went deep in the 9th inning for South Carolina’s lone run of the game.
After two scoreless frames to start the game, Oklahoma State got on the board in the top of the 3rd. Sluder led off the inning with a long home run to left field, his fourth of the season and first in over two months. Later in the inning, Corey Hassel’s two-out single brought J.R. Davis home and doubled the advantage to 2-0.
Oklahoma State nearly added to its lead in the 4th inning, when it loaded the bases. But Webb was able to wiggle out of the jam when he caught Conor Costello attempting to steal home, ending the inning.
South Carolina put the first two batters on to start the 4th inning but could not score. The inning ended on a wild play, as Jonah Bride singled off the glove of OSU shortstop Donnie Walton. Gene Cone attempted to score from second base as the ball trickled into center field, but the second baseman, Davis, tracked the ball down and threw him out on a close play at home to end the inning.
From there the game was largely a pitcher’s duel until the 9th inning. Oklahoma State put a pair of runners on base ahead of Theroux, who drilled a pitch just fair over the left-field fence. The home run was a big boost for OSU, stretching its lead to 5-0.
South Carolina broke the seal in the bottom of the ninth. Thompson-Williams led off with a home run to cut the deficit to 5-1. But the Gamecocks left two runners on base to end the game and lost a Super Regional game at Founders Park for the first time.
After giving up two runs in his first 2.2 innings, Webb settled in and blanked the Cowboys over his final 5.0 frames of work. He threw 110 pitches on the day, his second-biggest effort of the season.
Cone singled in the 4th inning, running his current hitting streak to 13 games.
The Gamecocks and Oklahoma State will face off Sunday at 3 p.m. in Game 2 of the Columbia Super Regional. A victory sends the Cowboys to the College World Series for the first time since 1999, while South Carolina needs a win to force Game 3 on Monday. Live television coverage is available on ESPN2.