At the end of the broadcast on Tuesday night of the 5-4 Oklahoma State RPI-building, midweek win over 15th-ranked Arkansas out of the powerful SEC, Oklahoma State Cowboy baseball announcers Rex (Holt) and the Chief (Matt Davis) made catcher Collin Theroux their Firehouse Subs/Pie 5 Pizza player of the game.
This is the same Collin Theroux that is hitting .115 with nine hits and 45 strikeouts in 78 at-bats this season. Yes, you read that correct. Theroux has nine hits and has walked back to the dugout empty on 45 trips to the plate. He was anything but empty against the Razorbacks. Theroux had three RBI with a big-time bomb to left field and also scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when he hustled to first base and beat out a bad throw.
It started in the second inning with Arkansas up 3-0 and runners on the corners with two outs. Theroux hits in the nine hole, anybody would with his numbers. However, with his average at the time of .107 flashing on the scoreboard, Arkansas pitcher Blake Wright threw one in Theroux's sweet spot and he clubbed it over the screen between Allie P. Reynolds Stadium and the Cowgirls Softball Stadium in left field.
It wasn't his first home run to left field as the Northern California native hit a line drive home run, a scorcher that barely left the ground, into the screen against a stiff northern wind against Michigan in the opener of the series against the Big 10 favorite. The pair of homers and two doubles this season mark the best moments of Theroux's long drought.
"It felt good running around the bases after hitting that," Theroux said. "It's just been so bad. I've been so bad offensively. I feel like I haven't helped my team enough."
Maybe so, but the homer against Michigan and against Arkansas were both momentum killers and builders. In both cases the visiting team had taken a lead early and Cowboys in the dugout and in the stands were looking for a good sign. Theroux in a home run trot is a good sign.
He was strong in two seasons at San Joaquin Delta C.C. in leading them to back-to-back state championship games and being picked 33rd in the MLB Amateur Draft last June by the Minnesota Twins. You know in his next at-bat in the game after the homer against Arkansas he came up standing straight up, looking confident.
"You're right baseball is such a mental game and I do need to show more confidence," Theroux said. "I need to remember how that felt and keep going back to it."
After all, Theroux may not have delivered in quantity but you can't question his quality.
"We all feel bad for him because we know he has struggled at the plate on offense, but he is handling the pitchers well and he makes us feel good," pitcher Trey Cobb said. "He's played a big role to how well we've pitched."
The Cowboys have pitched well with a 2.24 team ERA and 218 strikeouts to 108 walks. They are winning games and this weekend it is back on the road for the second straight week to open Big 12 play as it's up to Morgantown, W.V., and the West Virginia Mountaineers.
"We're just a bunch of tough guys that know how to win," Theroux said. "Hopefully, even tougher mentally, I know I need to be and that will help."
Theroux knows extremes as growing up close to San Francisco he is a diehard Giants fan and in football a 49ers fan. He needs to think Giants more and 49ers less.
"I know it has been tough the last few seasons with the Niners," Theroux joked.
It has but Theroux could teach a few lessons to the scarlet and gold about bouncing back.