ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Oklahoma State’s win streak reached six Saturday at Ray Fisher Stadium as the 17th-ranked Cowboys defeated Michigan, 5-3, in their series opener.
With the victory, OSU moved to 29-13 on the season, while the Wolverines fell to 21-19. The two teams will conclude the series with a game Sunday at 11 a.m. (CDT).
Bayden Root picked up the win in relief to improve to 5-1 on the season. The right-hander came on in relief of starter Juaron Watts-Brown to open the sixth and kept the Wolverines off the scoreboard for 2 2/3 innings as he allowed only one hit and tallied four strikeouts.
Isaac Stebens notched his fourth save, coming on in the ninth and keeping the home team off the scoreboard to secure the win.
Watts-Brown worked five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. He struck out six and did not issue a walk.
Offensively, Carson Benge collected a pair of RBIs, while Zach Ehrhard was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and an RBI double.
OSU took an early lead when Tyler Wulfert and David Mendham led off the second inning with back-to-back doubles, with Mendham’s one-hopper off the wall in right-center field putting the Pokes up 1-0.
But the Wolverines erased that lead in the bottom of the inning when Tito Flores smacked a solo home run over the wall in left field to tie the score at 1-1.
The Cowboys regained the lead in their next turn at bat. Ehrhard drew a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and then scored on another groundout, this one off the bat of Benge to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
Once again, UM would answer in the bottom inning. Following a leadoff single and an error, an RBI single by Ted Burton tied the score. The Wolverines threatened further damage with runners on second and third and no outs, but Watts-Brown came up big with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to keep the game knotted at 2-2.
The back-and-forth continued in the fifth. After Ehrhard walked and Brown singled, a double steal put runners in scoring position, and Benge delivered a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-2.
But in the bottom of the frame, another solo homer, this one by Burton, evened the scoreboard once again.
The Cowboys would use a two-out rally in the seventh to swing the score back in their favor for good.
After Brennan Holt was hit by a pitch and stole second, Ehrhard delivered an RBI double to left field, and Brown followed with a hit through the right side to plate Ehrhard and put OSU up by a 5-3 margin.
In the eighth, a two-out single and a walk brought the go-ahead run to the plate for Michigan, but Gabe Davis came out of the bullpen and got Flores to fly out to end the inning.