Oklahoma State dropped its series opener against TCU, 2-0, Friday night at Lupton Stadium.
The 22nd-ranked Cowboys outhit TCU by an 8-5 margin but left 11 runners stranded on the base paths as they fell to 23-9 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 Conference play.
Jason Hursh lost his third-straight start to fall to 3-3 as the sophomore right-hander allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked four.
"It was frustrating – we had some chances and created some base runners," said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. "We just had too many at bats where we were ahead in the count and moved the bat on some pitches where we made uncompetitive outs at key times.
"It's disappointing. (Hursh) pitched a good game, gave us seven strong innings on a Friday night that were plenty strong enough to give us an opportunity to win a game. You'll always take that."
The Horned Frogs (15-19, 4-6) opened the scoring in the bottom of the third when Kyle Bacak, who led off the inning with a single, scored on a two-out single off the bat of Paul Hendrix to make the score 1-0.
TCU capped the scoring in the following inning. After drawing a leadoff walk and advancing to second on a wild pitch, Kevin Cron scampered home on a fielding error by OSU second baseman Donnie Walton to give the Frogs a 2-0 advantage after four innings of play.
OSU had several scoring opportunities early but failed to put up any runs. In the third inning, the Cowboys loaded the bases with one out, but Aaron Cornell grounded into an inning-ending double play. And in the fourth, the Pokes had runners on the corners with one out before a pair of pop ups ended their scoring threat.
That trend would continue throughout the contest against TCU ace Preston Morrison, who improved to 6-1 with 8.1 shutout innings in which he scattered eight hits and struck out four.
"(Morrison) is a very good pitcher," Holliday said. "He's unique, he changes speeds extremely well, has a unique arm slot and he can throw a number of pitches at any time, which makes him a little tricky. We had a good plan as far as how we wanted to attack him. That plan created some moments, but in those moments, we never got the one swing or the execution we were looking for to create some momentum."
The Cowboys left at least one runner on base in each of the final seven innings, including stranding two in the ninth.
In the final inning, Robbie Rea led off with a single, and a one-out single by Donnie Walton put Cowboys on first and second. But Alex Young came out of the TCU bullpen and struck out pinch hitter Jarrett Higgins and designated hitter Corey Hassel to seal the win and earn his second save.
The two teams return to action Saturday at 4 p.m.
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