LaSalle's heroics power Oklahoma State to Bedlam baseball series victory

Apr. 8—Oklahoma State freshman Donovan LaSalle couldn't have imagined a better time for his first home run.

The tying run was on second base and the go-ahead run on first with two outs in the seventh inning of Sunday's Bedlam rubber match. LaSalle stepped into the box to face Oklahoma's James Hitt, an ironic last name given the result soon to follow.

LaSalle hammered a hanging slider over the center field wall to give the Cowboys the lead. By the time he crossed home plate, the O'Brate Stadium scoreboard changed from a 5-4 deficit to a 7-5 lead.

"There's no better moment," LaSalle said. "It was a great time for my first home run, and I'm happy it came in that moment."

A moment that very easily could not have presented itself at all. During the Oregon State game on Feb. 25, LaSalle broke his hand. He returned to action the week leading up to Bedlam, but it was his insistence on playing in game that resulted in OSU head coach Josh Holliday putting him in.

"His commitment to getting back and then his work ethic all week long, the kid has really good karma," Holliday said. "He is such a positive kid."

Oklahoma State set an attendance record at O'Brate in games one and two, but LaSalle's home run in game three was the loudest it got all weekend. That includes the OSU dugout.

"It was an unbelievable reaction not only because it was for the team but because (LaSalle) did it, and they've been watching him fight his way back," Holliday said. "I thought that was an unbelievably cool moment to witness the respect that older players have for a freshman who has been working so hard for the team."

LaSalle's three-run homer was part of a six-run seventh in which Oklahoma State brought 12 batters to the plate. OU pitchers walked six batters in the inning and walked home two runs. Suddenly with a 9-5 lead in hand, the Cowboys recorded the final six outs to win the series.

Offense was not an issue for either side throughout the series. In game one, OSU outfielder Nolan Schubert started the scoring with a towering two-run home run, and from there the rest of the Cowboy offense followed.

The two main contributors on the weekend were Zach Ehrhard and Avery Ortiz, who combined for 11 of OSU's 29 total hits, 15 of 25 RBI and four of seven home runs.

Ehrhard broke open game one with a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning to make it 5-1, and then Ortiz drove in two more in the seventh for the exclamation point. In the 9-6 victory, right-handed Cowboy starter Sam Garcia picked up the win in that one with 5.2 innings pitched and nine strikeouts.

The 15 total runs in game one were put to shame in game two. The infamous Oklahoma wind was howling straight out to center field, and as a result 10 home runs were hit. OU started fast and surprisingly lit up OSU's ace Brian Holiday, tagging him for 8 earned runs in 3 innings. The Sooners kept that up against Evan O'Toole, Ryan Bogusz and Dominick Reid, building up a 13-6 lead through four innings. Despite multi-homer games from Ehrhard and Ortiz, OSU couldn't keep up.

The Sooners won the game 19-10 and forced the series deciding game three, which LaSalle and the Cowboys prevailed in.

Oklahoma State has now won seven consecutive season series against Oklahoma, and Holliday is 36-14 while coaching in Bedlam games.

Behind The Numbers: OSU's Bedlam success

Oklahoma State leads 188-160 in the all-time series vs Oklahoma

Since 2017, Oklahoma State is 23-8 against Oklahoma

OSU has won 10 of 13 Bedlam games played in Stillwater since 2015

"I've never shied away from talking about these games having a deeper level of emotional magic to them," Holliday said. "If people can say that they don't, then they're probably not truly as heartfelt a Cowboy or a Sooner as maybe those of us that are. If these games feel like just another game to you, then you didn't go to school here."

"These games matter a lot," Holliday continued. "Oklahoma State people, just like OU people, know that when we compete there's a certain level of pride that you feel."

The Bedlam series will continue but not nearly at the level it has been. From next season on, the indication is just a singular mid-week matchup will be played each season, alternating between Stillwater and Norman. As for the weekend three-game series, Oklahoma State got the last laugh against its in-state rival.

Behind The Numbers: OSU's Bedlam success Oklahoma State leads 188-160 in the all-time series vs Oklahoma Since 2017, Oklahoma State is 23-8 against Oklahoma OSU has won 10 of 13 Bedlam games played in Stillwater since 2015 {related_content_uuid}f23d06ef-2bc8-482c-9b57-d129edd07965{/related_content_uuid}