STILLWATER, Okla. – University of California Irvine senior Andrew Morales threw a complete game shut out to lead the Anteaters to the series clinching 1-0 win in the Stillwater Super Regional over Oklahoma State. Morales struck out eight Cowboys while scattering five hits and two walks over nine innings pitched to get the Anteaters to the College World Series in Omaha.
Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday chose to start senior righty Vince Wheeland, who has been used as a reliever all season, in this must-win game at Reynolds Stadium. The Anteaters would get three hits in the first inning against Wheeland which would prove to be the difference in the game that turned into a pitcher’s duel as UC Irvine went with their ace Morales.
Oklahoma State’s senior center fielder Saulyer Saxon drew a lead off walk and was sacrificed to second to give the Cowboys a runner in scoring position with one out. Senior Tanner Krietemeier struck out and junior Gage Green grounded out to first to end the threat.
Three more times in the game would the Cowboys get a runner to second base only to see Morales retire the remaining hitters in the inning to shut down the scoring threat. On the opposing side of the hill, Wheeland was equally stingy giving up just one earned run in the game and that came in the first inning of play.
With one out, junior short stop Chris Robago hit a single and junior first baseman Connor Spencer followed with another single to right to put two runners on base in the first inning. Wheeland got catcher Jerry McClanahan to fly out to left field and was near to escaping the inning unscathed when red shirt sophomore designated hitter Jonathan Munoz smacked a double to left field that scored Robago to grab the 1-0 lead for the Anteaters.
The Anteaters attempted to add to the lead in the second but red shirt junior Justin Castro was caught in a run down trying to steal home to end the inning. UC Irvine would get a runner to second again in the third but Wheeland stopped the scoring threat and ending the inning with a strike out and a ground out.
The story of the night was the brilliant performance of Morales as he retired 14 of the last 15 Cowboys he faced to end the game including a run of sitting down the final 10 hitters he faced.
The Anteaters clinch the Super Regional series 2-0 and joins Texas and Louisville for a trip to the College World Series in Omaha.