Justin Campbell 'pitched like a winner' in Oklahoma State rout of Baylor in Big 12 baseball tournament

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Justin Campbell aimed to be more efficient on the mound. Instead, he became so much more.

Oklahoma State’s 6-foot-7, right-handed ace pitcher was methodically overpowering.

Baylor, meanwhile, was helpless.

“He wouldn’t let our hitters breathe,” Baylor coach Steve Rodriguez said.

Shortstop Jack Pineda, sitting next to his coach at the podium, shook his head.

“I don’t know how much we were going to get offensively just the way he was throwing,” Pineda said.

More: How Griffin Doersching's Viking look & long HRs made him Oklahoma State baseball folk hero

OSU pitcher struck out 10 over his seven innings, throwing only 92 pitches in an 11-1 win against Baylor on Thursday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
OSU pitcher struck out 10 over his seven innings, throwing only 92 pitches in an 11-1 win against Baylor on Thursday at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

On a day the fourth-seeded Cowboys needed a reset, they got it from their workhorse.

Campbell delivered a dominant complete game in OSU’s 11-1 seven-inning run-rule victory over Baylor early Thursday that kept the Cowboys alive in the Big 12 Tournament at Globe Life Field.

He allowed just three hits and struck out 10, bringing his season total to 133. He did not walk a batter while throwing 92 pitches.

Campbell retired the first seven batters and the final seven batters in order.

“It was a high-pace, a high-rhythm, an aggressive approach,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “He just came out and had a winning look on his face and he pitched like a winner.”

More importantly, it was exactly what the Cowboys needed to continue advancing in the loser’s bracket of the five-day tournament.

OSU will face No. 1-seeded TCU at 3:15 p.m. Friday in another elimination game.

Texas shut out the Cowboys 4-0 on Wednesday to open the tournament.

The Longhorns’ ace Pete Hansen overwhelmed the Cowboys’ offense like Campbell did Baylor’s.

That led to a more aggressive approach by OSU hitters Thursday morning.

'He kept us on pause': How Texas' Pete Hansen shut down Oklahoma State in Big 12 baseball opener

OSU's Griffin Doersching celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning of an 11-1 win against Baylor on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.
OSU's Griffin Doersching celebrates after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning of an 11-1 win against Baylor on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

They attacked early pitches from Baylor starter Jake Jackson, jumping to a 1-0 lead in the second. After Baylor tied the game with an unearned run in the third, the Cowboys truly awakened.

Griffin Doersching blasted a three-run homer 447 feet to left field, nearly landing on the concourse beyond the second deck of the stands.

“The guy is really strong,” Rodriguez said. “He’ll be jumping off turnbuckles here pretty soon.”

Doersching’s blast ended Jackson’s day and ignited a dormant offense.

Freshman second baseman Roc Riggio homered among his four hits. Freshman Zach Ehrhard had three hits and scored each time he reached while driving in a run. Super-senior Jake Thompson drove in three runs.

Sophomore Nolan McLean also doubled in a run and catcher Chase Adkison had two hits.

In total, the Cowboys had 16 hits and went 6 for 14 with runners in scoring position a day after getting just one baserunner to second base over nine innings.

“We scratch yesterday,” Riggio said. “We knew coming into this game we had to play it pitch by pitch, a lot of aggression, a lot of energy and go up there and win a game and keep competing and keep playing.”

That’s the beauty Holliday found in the win.

The Cowboys fought back. They live another day and so do their hopes of hosting a regional tournament next week.

They fell out of national projections to host following Wednesday’s loss and dropped to No. 22 in RPI. But keep winning and the odds turn to their favor.

More: Matt Holliday has lived a charmed baseball life. His oldest son, Jackson, could be next.

Campbell’s outing is the best possible start to turning the past few weeks around.

He had struggled in his last three Big 12 starts — including six days ago at Baylor — while allowing five or more earned runs and failing to get past the fifth inning in each start.

Campbell was back to himself Thursday morning.

“The only difference was my efficiency on the mound,” he said. “Being able to locate every pitch I have in my arsenal — fastball all the way down the slider — I think that was the key difference in this game compared to my last outing against Baylor.”

And it preserved a pitching staff for the opportunity to make a deeper run.

Through two games, the Cowboys have used just one relief pitcher. And without starter Bryce Osmond for the tournament due to an injury, OSU could need many arms moving forward.

It’s unclear who will start for OSU on Friday. But the entire team got a boost from their ace.

Perhaps, it’s that kind of day that will propel OSU.

“Having that (from Campbell) with that momentum and having the energy that we had in the dugout today, moving forward I think it’s going to be big for us,” Riggio said. “I think we’re gonna go a long ways in this tournament.”

More: Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Scores and Schedule from Globe Life Field in Arlington

Big 12 tournament schedule

At Arlington, Texas

(*-if necessary)

Wednesday, May 25

Game 1: No. 5 Texas 4, No. 4 Oklahoma State 0

Game 2: No. 1 TCU 4, No. 8 Baylor 2 

Game 3: No. 2 Texas Tech 5, No. 7 Kansas State 3

Game 4: No. 3 Oklahoma 6, No. 6 West Virginia 4

Thursday, May 26

Game 5: Oklahoma State 11, Baylor 1 (7 innings)

Game 6: Kansas State 8, West Virginia 5

Game 7: Texas 5, TCU 3

Game 8: Texas Tech vs. OU, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 27

Game 9: TCU vs. Oklahoma State, 3:15 p.m.

Game 10: G8 loser vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 28

Game 11: G7 winner vs. G9 winner, 9 a.m.

Game 12: G8 winner vs. G10 winner, 12:30 p.m.

Game 13: G11 winner vs. G11 loser*, 4 p.m.

Game 14: G12 winner vs. G12 loser*, 4 p.m. or 7:30

Sunday, May 29

Game 15: Championship, 5 p.m.

Jacob Unruh covers college sports for The Oklahoman. You can send your story ideas to him at junruh@oklahoman.com or on Twitter at @jacobunruh. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State eliminates Baylor from Big 12 baseball tournament