By Ryan Decker
Tyler Buffett has been recognized as one of the best starting pitchers in the Big 12 Conference.
He showed West Virginia (13-10, 2-2) fans why he has garnered the admiration.
Buffett went the distance for No. 23 Oklahoma State (16-6, 1-3), limiting the Mountaineers to just two runs on four hits in the Cowboys 3-2 victory in the series opener Friday night in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State got on the board early on a double by the team’s leading hitter, Garrett Benge. He went 2 for 3 at the plate; the only hitter on either team to collect multiple hits.
Buffett (4-2) held the Mountaineers hitless through the first three innings, retiring the first nine WVU hitters in order.
Buffett’s counterpart, WVU starter BJ Myers (2-2), settled down mightily after the first. He registered six strikeouts through the opening three innings, and increased his total to nine during the fourth and fifth innings.
Myers pitched well, giving up just three runs on five hits during his six innings on the mound. He also tallied 10 strikeouts, tying a career-high.
West Virginia’s offense finally broke through in the fifth.
The first three Mountaineer hitters loaded the bases by way of a single, reaching on an error and legging out a bunt single.
Braden Zarbnisky and Brandon White each drove in a run on RBI groundouts to give WVU a 2-1 lead.
The lead was short-lived for the Mountaineers, as Oklahoma State regained the advantage in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a runs on back-to-back singles by Garrett McCain and Colin Simpson.
Buffett regained his composure after giving up the two runs in the fifth, setting the Mountaineers down in order in each of the next three innings, including striking out the side in the eighth.
Buffett registered a total of seven strikeouts while not issuing a free pass.
The Cowboys threatened to pad its lead in the eighth, getting a runner to third with no one out.
Jackson Sigman pitched out of the jam, though, with the help of his defense. A fly out to center fielder turned into a double play thanks to a great throw by White, cutting down the runner at home plate.
Buffett breezed through the final inning, setting down the Mountaineers in succession. He retired the final 15 WVU batters in a row. He also went the distance in less than 100 pitches.
West Virginia failed to get an extra-base hit in the game.
Kyle Gray singled in the game, as he continues to find ways on base despite his low batting average.
The two teams are back at it tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET. Michael Grove (2-1, 3.28 ERA) will face Jonathan Heasley (2-2, 2.55).