Oklahoma State's late rally fell short Sunday as Houston defeated the Cowboys, 4-3, to win the series at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The Cowboys put the tying run on second in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Houston closer Mo Wiley struck out Zach Fish to end the game as OSU fell to 12-9 on the season.
Chase Stevens suffered the first loss of his OSU career as the junior right-hander allowed four runs on six hits in just 2.2 innings.
Blake Barnes was outstanding in relief of Stevens, working 6.1 scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and striking out six. Barnes' outing was just 1/3 of an inning shy of his career long, and his six strikeouts matched a career high.
Offensively, the Cowboys outhit UH by an 11-7 margin, but OSU stranded nine runners on the basepaths. Fish and Trey Whaley each had two hits for the Pokes.
Houston (9-10) jumped on Stevens early, getting a pair of runs on three hits in the second inning. After back-to-back singles by John Cannon and Casey Grayson put Cougars on first and third with one out, Kendall Stacks laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt that scored Cannon. Cory Kay followed with an RBI double to give UH a 2-0 lead.
OSU trimmed its deficit in half in the bottom of the inning. Gabe Weidenaar and Robbie Rea opened the frame with consecutive singles, and a one-out single by Trey Whaley made the score 2-1.
The Cougars tacked on two more runs in the third, getting an RBI single by Cannon and a sacrifice fly by Grayson to go on top by a 4-1 margin.
Once again, OSU answered with a run in the bottom of the inning as Fish blasted his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot over the wall in left field to make it 4-2.
Barnes and UH reliever Codey Morehouse would keep both offenses off the scoreboard until the seventh when OSU plated its final run. Jarrett Higgins opened the inning with a walk and after stealing second, he raced home on an RBI double by Jared Womack.
In the ninth, a one-out infield single by Higgins put the tying run on base with one out. Up next, Womack flied out. Higgins would steal second to get into scoring position, but Fish struck out swinging to end the Cowboys' comeback attempt.
OSU returns to midweek action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Central Arkansas at Reynolds Stadium before the Cowboys open Big 12 Conference play Friday at Missouri.