STILLWATER — The second runner came across on a single through the left side of the infield by senior Randy McCurry. Saxon was waved home from second and beat the throw to the plate — which allowed Walton to advance to third. Robbie Rea followed with a shot back up the middle to bring in the freshman second baseman for the final run of the inning.
Oklahoma State scored three more runs in the fourth off of the long ball. Cornell hit a one-run shot into the net past the left field wall, and Walton hit his first home run as a Cowboy with a two-run shot just over the right field wall.
“It was pretty exciting,” Walton said. “... I’ve had some struggles the past few games, but working with Josh and my dad (assistant coach Rob Walton), helped me have better swings this game.”
The big bats proved to be important as the Mountaineers (30-24, 12-10) began to hit Jason Hursh in the top of the fifth. Three straight hits to lead off the inning led to three runs, but the OSU ace kept the bleeding to a minimum.
The Cowboys got one of the runs back in the bottom of the fifth. McCurry, in his first start since getting hit Saturday by Oklahoma pitcher Jonathan Gray, led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a fly out by Rea. The very next batter, Zach Fish, hit a sacrifice fly to deep left to allow McCurry to score standing up.
“(The shoulder) isn’t too bad, they’ve just been rubbing it because we’ve got to just keep it moving,” said McCurry, who went 3 for 4 with two doubles while also recording five assists in the field. “I got in there and got my reps.”
West Virginia got one more run across in the top of the eighth off of middle reliever Vince Wheeland, who came in to start the top of the seven for Hursh, who improved to 6-4 with six innings of work, three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out five.
Cowboy closer Brendan McCurry, Randy’s younger brother, came in and closed out the contest in the ninth inning to pick up his eighth save of the season, and fourth in Big 12 play.
Game 2 of the series will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Allie P. Reynolds. The contest will be televised on Fox College Sports (Suddenlink channel 510).