MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — No. 16 Oklahoma State’s Jensen Elliot tossed shutout ball into the ninth inning, leadoff man J.R. Davis hit for the cycle and West Virginia’s search for a rare conference sweep stalled with an 8-1 loss Sunday.
The Cowboys’ right-hander sparkled in the first complete game of his freshman season, throwing 131 pitches while holding West Virginia (14-11, 4-4 Big 12) to four singles.
“Everything Elliott threw was down in the zone, and every guy they throw out there can really pitch,” said Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey. “Still a good weekend for the Mountaineers. If you had asked me coming into the series if I’d have taken two out of three, I dang sure would.”
Davis batted 4-for-4 with four RBIs. He tripled home a run in the third, singled in the sixth, homered in the eighth and doubled off the left-field fence in the ninth as Oklahoma State (19-9, 4-2) rebounded from back-to-back one-run losses.
Using a three-quarters delivery, the 6-foot-6 Elliott (3-1) came in with 33 strikeouts in 30 innings but throttled WVU while fanning only three.
“I threw a lot of sinkers and changeups that were diving down into the batters, and they just rolled over them a little bit,” said Elliott, who hadn’t exceeded six innings in his first six college starts.
“Coming into this weekend we had high expectations, and we lost the first two games to a good West Virginia team. Every Big 12 team is tough.”
Freshman Ivan Vera, catching while Ray Guerrini served a one-game suspension stemming from Saturday’s ejection, had West Virginia’s only two hits until Jimmy Galusky singled in the eighth.
K.C. Huth led off the ninth with a solo homer to left, robbing Elliott of his first college shutout.
“He threw a gem,” said WVU leadoff hitter Kyle Davis, who was 0-for-3. “He had a sinking fastball that he was painting on both sides of the plate. When a guy has all his pitches working and he’s spotting them, it’s tough to get hits.”
B.J. Myers (2-3) surrendered four runs over seven innings for the Mountaineers, who had posted three-game sweeps only twice in 26 previous Big 12 series.
Though he fanned a season-high seven batters, Myers injured himself after throwing two pitches in the eighth. Mazey offered no postgame update aside from saying the sophomore was receiving treatment.
Jeff Hardy entered for Myers and was greeted by Davis two-run homer that stretched the lead to 5-0.
Dustin Williams followed with a two-run shot off the left-field pole against Jackson Sigman.
Nick Wernke surrendered Davis’ cycle-clinching RBI double in the ninth.
“When you’re seeing the ball like Davis was, you feel like you can hit everything,” Mazey said.
West Virginia faces Marshall on Tuesday in Charleston, beginning a stretch of six nonconference games.