Theroux, Hatch Lead Cowboys To Victory

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are one win away from returning to the College World Series for the first time since 1999 thanks to Collin Theroux and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hatch.

Collin Theroux does not play because he’s counted on to produce at the plate. The Oklahoma State junior catcher is in the starting lineup because of what he does behind the plate. He entered Saturday’s Columbia Super Regional hitting just .161 on the season, and hadn’t hit a home run in more than a month.

But Theroux came up big Saturday with a three-run home run in the ninth inning to back the outstanding pitching effort of Thomas Hatch as OSU defeated South Carolina 5-1 in game one of the best-of-three-game series at the Columbia Super Regional.

Theroux and OSU (40-20) will advance to the College World Series for the first time since 1999 with a win over the Gamecocks (46-17) on Sunday. Game two begins at 2 p.m. (Central time).

“We got excellent starting pitching from Thomas (Hatch), and Trey Cobb came out of the bullpen and did a great job,” said Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said. “We played good defense, which was important. We got a big swing of the bat late in the game by Collin (Theroux) to take a two-run lead to a five-run lead. There’s a big difference between a two-run lead and a five-run lead.”

The Cowboys led 2-0 when Theroux drove a Taylor Widener fastball just inside the left-field foul pole to score Dustin Williams (single) and Jon Littell (walk), giving OSU an insurmountable 5-0 lead. It was his sixth homer of the season for Theroux but his first since May 10.

Hatch, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, was outstanding in shutting out the Gamecocks over seven innings to improve his record to 8-2 on the season. The right-hander from Jenks, Oklahoma struck out three and only walked two before giving way to Garrett Williams and Trey Cobb.

Williams came on to start the eighth inning but only faced one batter – walking DC Arendas – before Cobb got the call from Cowboys pitching coach Rob Walton. Cobb allowed a solo home run to Dom Thompson-Williams to lead off the ninth, and gave up a walk and single before striking out Arendas to end the game.

The Cowboys got on the scoreboard in the third inning, providing Hatch with all the runs he would need. Ryan Sluder’s solo homer and Corey Hassel’s run-scoring single off South Carolina starter Braden Webb to score J.R. Davis gave OSU the early lead.

“These kids are having fun and letting it ride, and that’s the only way you can play effectively this time of year – do all the same things you’ve tried to do from day one,” said Holliday. “The kids have to continue to stay engaged and play the game one pitch at a time.”

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