LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Josh Jung had hit his second homer of the game to start the eighth inning for Texas Tech when Kurt Wilson was getting ready to hit with two runners on base and the Red Raiders still trailing.
Wilson then delivered big, with a three-run homer for the Red Raiders in an 8-6 victory over Oklahoma State in an NCAA Super Regional finale Sunday. They are going to the College World Series for the fourth time in six seasons.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Hey, this is your time. Those other at-bats don’t matter’,” said Jung, a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in last week’s MLB draft. “And he gets up there, I’ve never seen somebody more intense. … Unbelievable. Great experience.”
After Jung’s 14th homer of the season got the Red Raiders within one to chase Peyton Battenfield, Oklahoma State reliever Ben Leeper (4-4) then walked two batters and struck out another before Wilson’s drive over the wall in right-center field for his fourth homer of the season after being 0 for 3 before that.
Asked his reaction to Wilson’s homer, Jung said he “like blacked out. … I couldn’t even tell you what was going on, I think I was just jumping around and getting pushed in all different directions.”
The Red Raiders (44-18), the Big 12 regular season champions, have earned all of their trips to Omaha in alumnus Tim Tadlock’s seven seasons coaching the Red Raiders.
“I’m just really proud of these guys, proud of who they are,” Tadlock said. “Proud of the way they prepare, proud of the way they compete. Honestly I think the better team won today.”
Oklahoma State (40-21) had two runners on base when Colin Simpson, who had hit a tiebreaking homer an inning earlier, struck out against Dane Haveman to end the game. Simpson had homered off Haveman in Game 2 on Saturday night, when the Cowboys won to snap an eight-game losing streak to their Big 12 rival and force the deciding Game 3.
“Yeah, it was a punch in the gut to have that ball go over the fence but what are you going to go? Turn around and jump back in on it,” Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said. “First two guys on base (in the ninth), three good swings to try to put a bat on ball against a good reliever. The kid made the pitches when he needed to.”
Haveman got his third save after taking over for John McMillon (3-3), who struck out six over 3 2/3 innings.
Braxton Fulford also homered for Texas Tech.
Trevor Boone and Cade Cabbiness went deep for the Cowboys, who last went to Omaha in 2016. That was their 20th CWS, their first since 1999 when Holliday was playing at Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys, who won the Big 12 tournament last month, had already rallied from deficits twice to tie the game before Simpson’s 17th homer of the season for a 5-4 lead in the eighth.
“We’ve been back and forth now for quite some time,” Holliday said. “We haven’t played an easy baseball game in two or three months. Today was just another one of those great challenges.”