Things looked grim as the Cats headed into the bottom of the sixth. The Sooners had put together a four-run lead, and All-Planet pitcher Jonathan Gray had kept the CatBats in check.
Then Shane Conlon singled. And so did Jared King. Austin Fisher made it three in a row, getting the BatCats on the board as Conlon scored. After Jon Davis advanced the runners with a groundout, Mitch Meyer singled, and suddenly Tointon was alive and so were the Cats.
Tanner Witt drove in R.J. Santigate in the bottom of the seventh to tie it; in the bottom of the eighth Jon Davis led off with a triple and the roof blew off the place. Lance Miles, pinch-hitting for Meyer, singled to right to plate the go-ahead run, and the Cats were three outs away from glory.
But not so fast. Jake Matthys suffered a rare letdown, giving up a solo homer to Jack Mayfield in the top of the ninth on a 2-2 fastball that got up in the zone.
It all came down to the bottom of the ninth, with over 3,500 fans praying for a walkoff. Witt started it with a walk. Conlon sacrificed him to second, and OU decided to intentionally walk King. Fisher didn't even move when the first pitch sailed into the batter's box; OU coach Sunny Golloway was incensed that he was allowed to take first, but when the pitch is that far inside your moral ground is a little fragile there. That loaded the bases, with but a single out, the winning run ninety feet from home.
Jacob Evans dealt... and the ball got past Anthony Hemelyn. Witt, who'd gotten caught off third base in a colossal baserunning blunder earlier in the game which cost the Cats a run, bolted for the plate... and beat the tag.
For the first time since 1933, Kansas State has won the conference title in baseball. In so doing, they become only the third FBS-level team to pull off the football-basketball-baseball men's treble in the BCS era, and only the fifth Division I school period in that timeframe.
And I'm just beside myself with joy. Let's take a moment and just breathe deep...
The list of schools which have achieved this feat isn't large. Even taking into account all Division I play, including FCS teams, and accepting division titles in basketball and baseball as actual championships except where the conference also recognizes an overall regular season champion, it has only happened 51 times. The vast majority of these occasions are somewhat cheapened, although I don't mean to denigrate anyone who's achieved the trifecta as it's pretty impressive no matter what. However, many of these instances involve the aforementioned divisional champions (often playing in a division with only three, four, or five other teams) or a conference which itself only has seven or eight teams participating in one of the three sports. Again, the achievement should in no way be disregarded for these reasons; I'm only spotlighting them for purposes of perspective.
With that caveat, here's a list, by conference, of the 51 teams to have pulled off the treble, with explanations where the achievement may be less impressive than doing it in a 10-team league. First, the four schools which have done it since the beginning of the BCS era:
2010-11 Coastal Carolina (The Big South only had seven eligible football teams)
Now, the pre-BCS instances:
1938-39 Oklahoma (Big Six)
1946-47 Oklahoma (Big Seven)
1978-79 Oklahoma (divisional play in baseball; OU won a four-team division)
1914-15 Illinois (some teams played very minimal conference schedules)
1925-26 Michigan (ditto)
1978-79 Michigan State
Ivy League (eight teams)
1972-73 Miami (OH)
1948-49 Oklahoma State
1953-54 Oklahoma State (Saint Louis is officially recognized as champs, but their conference record was only 2-0, so I'm disregarding that and so should you)
1955-56 Tennessee Tech
1980-81 Western Kentucky
1985-86 Middle Tennessee State
Pac 12 (eight or fewer teams through this timeframe)
1929-30 USC (divisional in baseball)
1930-31 Washington (divisional in baseball)
1957-58 Oregon State (divisional in baseball)
1975-76 UCLA (divisional in baseball)
(Note, however, that for baseball the Pac-8/10 had many more teams prior to the mid-80s. Santa Clara, St. Mary's, Gonzaga, and others were members of the league, so we're not talking about winning a four-team division here.)
1954-55 West Virginia
2004-05 Northwestern State
1985-86 Texas A&M
1994-95 Texas Tech
(Texas has a horribly unfair advantage here, as they won all or part of over 60 SWC baseball titles; the rest of the conference was very, very weak. But they still count. Texas Tech's treble, on the other hand, has the only true asterisk on this list; they didn't actually WIN the SWC football title in 1994, they just got named co-champs along with five other teams because Texas A&M was on probation.)
1966-67 Grambling State
1981-81 Jackson State
1972-73 Arizona State
1978-79 Brigham Young
1982-83 Brigham Young
1992-93 Brigham Young
That's it. Fifty-one isn't "few", but over the course of a century, it's not common either, especially once you start really dissecting the list. The most important part, though, is to consider that for the last 20 years, realignment has led to conferences growing larger across the board. It's mathematically harder now to win titles than it was. Sure, Louisville may join us on this list in a few days, but never mind that.
There's still only been three BCS-level teams to do this without an asterisk in the last 20 years. Nothing to sneeze at.
Party, my friends. Party like it's 2013.