STILLWATER – Oklahoma State moved into second place in the Big 12 Conference standings with a 7-4 win over West Virginia on Tom Borland Night Thursday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
With the win, the 16th-ranked Cowboys improved to 12-9 in Big 12 play and are now 38-13 overall, the best mark in the conference.
Jason Hursh pitched six innings to earn his sixth win of the season, while Brendan McCurry worked the final frame to collect his team-leading eighth save.
Offensively, the Cowboys were led by Donnie Walton, who was 2-for-3 with a game-high three RBIs and also slugged his first-career home run, and Randy McCurry, who finished with a pair of doubles en route to a 3-for-4 effort.
“It always starts on the mound, and Jason (Hursh) gave us another very good start,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday said. “He pitched with really strong courage coming off a shorter week of rest and such an emotional effort last week. He did a really nice job.”
The Cowboys used back-to-back three-run innings in the third and fourth to give Hursha comfortable lead.
Aaron Cornell got things going in the third. The junior led off the inning with a single and came around to plate the game’s first run on an RBI safety squeeze bunt by Walton as Cornell made an impressive head-first slide to avoid the tag of WVU catcher Alan Filauro.
The Cowboys added two more runs in the inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Randy McCurry and Robbie Rea to take a 3-0 advantage.
In the fourth, OSU took command via the long ball. Cornell delivered a solo shot to left field to provide the Cowboys’ fourth run, and three batters later, it was Walton depositing a Dan Dierdorff pitch over the wall in right field, a two-run blast that made it 6-0.
“(Dierdorff) left one up, and I put a good swing on it,” Walton said. “We made a few adjustments before the game, and my swing felt good.”
WVU (30-24, 12-10) rallied to trim its deficit in half in the fifth, collecting three runs on four hits off Hursh to make it 6-3, but the Cowboys got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Zach Fish.
Hursh’s six-inning effort saw the sophomore right-hander allow three runs on five hits while striking out five as he improved to 6-4.
The Cowboys also got huge contributions from their 8-9 hole hitters — Cornell and Higgins — who made rare starts and who each collected two hits. Cornell also swiped his 11th base of the season, while Higgins stole two bases to bring his season total to 10.
“I’m really proud of those guys,” Holliday said. “The goal is to get as many of those nine guys hot at one time as you can and hope that the ones who aren’t swinging it great are coming around. You constantly work every day to get guys right.”
The two teams return to action Friday at 6:36 p.m.
GAME NOTE: Prior to Thursday’s game, OSU had a ceremony to officially retire Tom Borland’s number 11, as Borland became the fourth member of the OSU program honored with having his number retired, joining Robin Ventura (21), Pete Incaviglia (29) and Gary Ward (20).
Borland was a left-handed pitcher for Oklahoma A&M from 1953-55. He was the second baseball All-American in OSU history and was inducted into the Cowboy Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. He helped lead the Aggies to back-to-back College World Series appearances in 1954 and 1955 and was named the CWS Most Valuable Player in 1955. During his three seasons in Stillwater, Borland compiled a 19-2 record and 2.63 ERA. His 16 career complete games are tied for sixth on OSU’s all-time list, while his 258 strikeouts are tied for eighth.