Oklahoma State continued its winning ways Friday night at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium as the 25th-ranked Cowboys topped No. 4 TCU, 9-0, in the series opener.
The win was the fifth in a row for OSU, which improved to 24-13 overall and 8-5 in Big 12 Conference play.
Thomas Hatch turned in a dominant effort against the conference’s top-hitting team to lead the Cowboys to victory. The sophomore right-hander tossed his first-career complete game and struck out a career-best 10 to improve to 3-1 on the season.
How good was OSU’s ace? Hatch allowed just five hits — all singles — to a TCU club that entered the game with a .316 batting average, and the Horned Frogs did not have a runner advance past first base until the ninth inning, with that coming on an error. For good measure, Hatch picked off three Frogs at first base.
“Thomas (Hatch) has pitched really good all year long and continues to go out there and grow and improve,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “He pitched a beautiful game. He had great support from his teammates — good defense all around the yard, his catcher did a good job for him. He settled the game in for us and allowed us to get some offense going.
“Confidence is contagious. You saw the team continue to grow. It was a good step forward for our group, and Thomas was right there front and center setting the tone.”
Hatch got plenty of run support from his teammates. J.R. Davis led the Cowboys with a 4-for-4 night at the plate, while Corey Hassel, Donnie Walton and Jon Littell drove in two runs apiece.
That type of offensive output helped Hatch settle in and pound the strike zone.
“It was a lot of fun,” Hatch said. “I found the zone a little more because I’m comfortable that if I leave a ball up, they’re not able to come back and tie the game. Hopefully we keep the bats going.”
OSU plated its first runs of the game in the third. Collin Theroux got the rally started with a leadoff single, the first of his two hits in the contest, and after Davis walked, Hassel laid down a bunt to move two runners into scoring position.
Walton delivered the first run of the game with an RBI groundout, and Garrett Benge followed with an RBI single to put the Pokes up 2-0.
A big fifth inning put OSU in total control. A leadoff double by Davis was followed by an RBI single off the bat of Hassel, and a two-out rally added three more runs. Colin Simpson brought home the first of those runs with an RBI single, and Littell followed with a two-RBI hit to make it 6-0.
OSU added a run in the sixth on an RBI double by Walton before RBIs from Davis and Hassel made it 9-0 in the seventh.
That was more than enough for Hatch, who was masterful until the end of his 121-pitch night as he faced just three batters over the minimum and issued only one walk.
“Against such a quality opponent like TCU, it’s good to get that,” Hatch said. “I went into the ninth last week at Baylor and wasn’t able to finish it — it’s nice to be able to finish the job…
“We train for this, train for 120 pitches. Even after that I feel good. It all goes back to our training and our coaching.”
The two teams return to action Saturday at 4 p.m.