Oklahoma State starter Juaran Watts-Brown, a right-hander who transferred from Long Beach State, was dominant for the Cowboys on the mound, looking every bit like a top-40 prospect in the 2023 MLB Draft with a mid-90s fastball, a sharp slider, and a devastating curveball. Watts-Brown set the tone early with the rare accomplishment of striking out four batters in the first inning before throwing 128 pitches over 8.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits with 12 strikeouts. The 14 total strikeouts by the Longhorns tied the season high set against the Titans in Fullerton last month.
Managing only four hits in the ballgame, Texas left seven runners on base and was never able to get going offensively against Watts-Brown, who seemed untouchable with his three-pitch mix. Even though the Longhorns couldn’t string together rallies against Watts-Brown, his pitch count was up to 58 pitches through three innings as closer Nolan McLean was injured crashing into the wall playing center field, but several efficient innings and the extension well over 100 pitches allowed Oklahoma State to get to right-hander Isaac Stebens in the ninth.
Right-hander Travis Sthele pitched solidly for Texas, but lost some effectiveness in the fourth inning by allowing two runs, getting through 5.0 innings allowing four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts, coming out after allowing a hit to the leadoff batter in the sixth who eventually came around to score. The back of the bullpen only allowed one hit over the final three innings, but the Horns never threatened at the plate.
Right-hander Brian Hendry (1-0, 5.59) takes the mound for Oklahoma State on Sunday against right-hander Lebarron Johnson Jr. (3-1, 2.97). First pitch is at 1 p.m. Central on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.