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Watters Pitches Out of Three Late-Inning Jams as WVU Outlasts No. 11 Oklahoma State

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Jacob Watters (Photo via wvusports.com)

Trailing by 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Oklahoma State freshman Nolan McLean stood in against West Virginia closer Jacob Watters with the tying run just 90 feet away at third base and the potential winning run standing on first.

The Cowboys had rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Mountaineers’ lead to just one run but were now down to their final out. Watters was working in his third inning and his command was starting to fade as his pitch count began to approach 50. After getting two quick outs to start the bottom of the ninth, Watters allowed a pinch-hit triple and a walk and now faced McLean with the game on the line.

After getting ahead 2-1 in the count, Watters’s 47th pitch of the night was a fastball he was able to throw past the freshman, nailing down the win for the Mountaineers (11-9, 3-1 Big 12). The loss broke a four-game winning streak for No. 11 Oklahoma State (16-7-1, 4-3).

Senior lefty Jackson Wolf (3-2, 2.66) started on the mound for WVU and pitched six innings of one-run ball. He ran into trouble in the seventh, however, loading the bases before being lifted for reliever Zach Ottinger.

West Virginia was hanging onto a 4-1 lead when Ottinger entered, thanks in large part to a three-run home run hit by freshman shortstop Mikey Kluska in the top of the fourth inning, his third of the year.

Ottinger allowed two straight pinch-hit RBI singles before giving way to Watters to close the game. Watters got a strikeout to end the seventh, but OSU was able to load the bases again in the bottom of the eight. This time, Watters was able to induce a ground ball to Kluska that turned into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.

After posting another zero in the ninth, Watters picked up his second save on the year and preserved the win for Wolf. The final line for Wolf was 6 1/3 innings pitched, five hits, three earned runs and eight strikeouts. Watters’s was 2 1/3 innings pitched, three hits and four strikeouts. Kluska finished 2 for 4 with the home run and three RBI. First baseman Hudson Byorick went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

WVU and OSU will play two more games in this weekend conference series with the first pitch Friday scheduled for 7 p.m. in Stillwater.

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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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