With great pitching comes great opportunity, and that's exactly what the Oklahoma State baseball team is benefiting from as of late. Thanks to the dominating performance from ace pitcher Thomas Hatch, the Cowboys have continued their postseason hot-streak with a 1-0 win over UC Santa Barbara in the opening game of the College World Series.
Hatch tossed nine scoreless innings in the win, and the Big 12 pitcher of the year made sure the Gauchos were never able to grab onto any momentum as he struck out seven batters and only gave up five hits.
"I think it was pretty clear that both the men that took the mound today were dialed in," OSU head coach Josh Holliday said. "Thomas Hatch pitched a fantastic game for us, his catcher Collin Theroux did his part behind him and we played very good defense to help maintain that pitch count and allow Thomas to finish the game."
After three and a half innings of scoreless baseball, the Pokes were finally able to get the bats rolling in the bottom half of the fourth. Both Corey Hassel and Donnie Walton were able to set the tone of the frame with a pair of singles, but Garrett Benge's hit that followed was the money maker. Benge smacked a ball up the middle that was right out of the reach of UCSB second baseman JJ Muno, which scored Hassel from second base and gave the Cowboys a 1-0 lead.
"Their pitcher was dotting up the whole game hitting his spots, but right before the at-bat coaches told me to get a good pitch and stay convicted on it, I just trusted that plan and went through with it and it turned out okay," Benge said.
It was the only score the Cowboys needed, as Hatch made sure to take care of the rest as he moves to 9-2 on the season while showing his top stuff on the biggest stage. Not only did he perform for his team, but he made sure to give them credit as well after he was able to get through a bumpy start in the first few innings.
"Our defense has played incredible all tournament and I don't think it was any different today. I didn't have my stuff, and they put the ball in play pretty hard in the first four innings," Hatch said. "Donnie (Walton) made a heck of a play, Benge made a few good plays, and J.R. (Davis) too, even Colllin behind the plate and Rob (Walton) called a great game, so I'm not going to take any credit for this game."
Along with Benge's huge RBI, Davis led the Cowboys's with two hits in the game, while Corey Hassel, Donnie Walton and Conor Costello all reached base as well.
OSU will play the winner of Miami and Arizona at 6 p.m. on Monday.