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Oklahoma State Baseball

Oklahoma State's Stillwater Regional Goes From Bad to Worse, DBU Ends Pokes' Season

June 3, 2023

STILLWATER – At the start of this season a good portion of the excitement over Oklahoma State’s baseball forecast was the arrival of Long Beach State pitcher Juaron Watts-Brown. The 6-3, 190-pound had great stuff. He’s young, but he was not penciled in, but using the ink he was expected to be the Friday night starter. To be fair this season he has gone 6-4 with a 4.50 ERA with 117 strike outs to 44 walks. He has that good stuff, but all season when adversity would hit he would struggle to overcome it. Saturday at O’Brate Stadium on the afternoon after the best number four seed in the NCAA Tournament in Oral Roberts put the Cowboys in the loser’s bracket of their regional Watts-Brown was asked to rescue. When adversity hit, he couldn’t deal with it. The Cowboys were crushed 18-4 and the season is over. 

“That was a tough game,” head coach Josh Holliday said after. ”"I'm very numb right now. That was a difficult game, difficult set of emotions. The finality of it is, no matter how many seasons you coach, you don't master what it feels like for the season to come to an end."

After Oklahoma State scored first in the bottom of the second on home run 17 on the season for freshman All-American Nolan Schubart as he pummeled the baseball 430 feet over the right field walkway, Watts-Brown was sailing along allowing no hits and striking out five in the first three frames. Then DBU third baseman Kodie Kolden led off the fourth inning with a home run up on the left field councourse just on the centerfield side of the spectator bridge in left. The question what next? 

Nathan Humphreys hit the ball just as hard to right field, yes, up on the concourse over the brick and mortar bleachers. In fairness to Watts-Brown he struck out clean-up hitter Ethan Mann, but catcher Chase Adkinson had a rare passed ball that allowed Mann to get on at first. The next hitter second baseman Miguel Santos hit the ball into the bullpen for a two-run homer. Dallas Baptist really has all they needed at 4-1, but the runs were just starting for the Patriots.

“Baseball is a momentum game and we got the three home runs that inning and that really helped us,” Dallas Baptist head coach Dan Heefner said afterwards. “He’s a good pitcher and has good stuff (Watts-Brown) but the second time through seeing him helped us.”

“i think the kid hit the home run on a fastball and then the second kid hit a breaking pitch out,’ Holliday said. “They made an adjustment in the fourth and got the barrel on some balls. With as good as their bullpen is then you get into scratching and clawing. You have to prevent runs and in the fifth inning we could not get an out. We could not stop the momentum, they had going offensively.” 

Watts-Brown was back for the fifth and the inning opened with a Luke Heefner single, Jace Grady singled to right-center, Kodie Kolden laid down a successful sacrifice to move the runners over to second and third before Nathan Humphreys doubled home one run. Grady held up at third as he was waiting to see the ball down. Ethan Mann singled and the score was 7-1 and Watts-Brown was finished. He would end up being on the hook for eight of the Patriots runs and get the loss to go 6-5 on the season and his ERA ballooned up to 5.03.

Ben Abrams followed to the mound and allowed a double, walk, and single. He left having officially given up a pair of runs. Drew Blake came into get two outs and end the fifth with DBU up 10-1.

Gabe Davis came on and he struggled to get outs allowing Kolden to lead off the sixth inning with his second home run of the game and sixth of the season. Two batters late, both getting on base and David gave way to Bayden Root and Miguel Santos unloaded into the right field bullpen for a three run home run, his second of the game. 

It was 14-to-1 DBU. How bad was it? Before leaving Davis attempted a pick off at second base with nobody covering. Thankfully, the ball hit at Roc Riggio’s feet, so it didn’t result in more scoring, Santos home run handled that chore. 

“Forget the game, we lost by 13 or 14 runs,’ Riggio said, “that game doesn’t define thei program. It doesn’t define me or those other good men on this team.”

The Patriots kept on hitting, but the scoring subsided. Well, sort of, in the seventh inning Santos his his third home run of the game, another three-run homer. Now, nine RBI on the day for the and 14 home runs and 61 RBI for the season. Santos and the Patriots (46-15) move on to battle the loser of ORU and Washington to stay alive on Sunday. Give credit too to Patriots pitcher Zach Heaton, who started an 8-0 shut out win over the Cowboys at Dallas Baptist back on March 28. He got the win going six and a third innings. The final numbers had DBU with their 18 runs on 19 hits and no errors. The Cowboys finished with their four runs on eight hits and no errors. 

Oklahoma State’s season with a Big 12 regular season trophy to show for it ended with a 41-20

Robert Allen - Pokes Report
Holliday sits down in postgame after the loss.

record. A team that at times looked like it was capable of major accomplishments, possibly finding a way to Omaha. They had a lot of offense, mostly played good defense, had some good pitching, but not enough. Now, starts the work toward rebuidling the Cowboys for 2024. Gone to the draft will be likely Watts-Brown; Nolan McLean; likely Tyler Wulfert; Marcus Brown; and possibly some others. 

Discussion from...

Oklahoma State's Stillwater Regional Goes From Bad to Worse, DBU Ends Pokes' Season

1,995 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by RodeoPoke
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Coach H.....What is your plan to fix this? -- 9:00 am Monday.....AD's office.......Two years in a row.....pitching collapse again .....GO POKES!!!
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Anyone know if the portal works the same in baseball? I'd think this team might have some folks bail. Something/someone seems to be an issue. How can ORU always take OSU down.
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The tears from Josh Holliday feels so good, horrible coach, horrible players coach, has tall man pitching syndrome, arrogant and deserves getting fired which I hope he does.
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Disappointing when you host and we're unable to get a win! Hope this can get turned around.
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Gopokes78 said:

Disappointing when you host and we're unable to get a win! Hope this can get turned around.
It happens...

Auburn was eliminated from their regional with 2 straight losses. UCLA softball (#2 in country) was eliminated from their regional with two straight losses (Liberty, Grand Canyon)

Five No. 1 seeds (hosts) have been eliminated: No. 4 overall seed Clemson, No. 6 overall seed Vanderbilt, No, 9 overall seed Miami, No. 11 overall seed Oklahoma State, No. 13 overall seed Auburn.

and.... hasn't it been just a minute since Vandy was supposedly the best college team that money can buy?

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