STILLWATER — Kyle Ottoson wasn't welcome around the Oklahoma State clubhouse the past week. In fact, he was barred access.
Instead, the senior pitcher spent the days between his DUI arrest in the early hours of last Tuesday and the Cowboys' nonconference Bedlam clash with Oklahoma this Tuesday performing various community service acts in an effort to get back in good graces with the team.
“I didn't seem him until about an hour before the game,” said OSU coach Frank Anderson.
Back on the mound against the Sooners, Ottoson was a welcome sight for the Cowboys, handling the Sooners in a 6-1 win before a crowd of 2,438 at Reynolds Stadium.
In a major contrast of styles opposite OU's power-armed Damien Magnifico, Ottoson frustrated the Sooners with an array of off-speed pitches and breaking balls. While Magnifico fired fastballs in the mid- and upper-90s and touched 100 at times, OSU's soft-tossing lefty worked some 30 miles per hour slower, with the stadium radar reading flickering 70s on most of his pitches, even slipping into the 60s at times.
“Barely over the speed limit,” Anderson said.
Yet while Magnifico struggled to command his power pitches, Ottoson thrived without any power whatsoever.
“That's just his game,” said Cowboys right fielder Trey Whaley, whose run-scoring double capped a three-run rally in the sixth inning that broke a 1-1 tie. “He throws strikes. He throws three good pitches the whole game. He gets the job done.”
The Cowboys improved to 23-17, snapping OU's eight-game winning streak in the process and dropping the Sooners to 26-15. The two teams meet in their Big 12 series May 4-6, with one game in Tulsa and two in Oklahoma City — games that count in the league standings — although this first meeting carried postseason ramifications for two teams scrambling for NCAA relevance.
“We did damage to our RPI tonight,” said Sooners coach Sunny Golloway.
Ottoson nearly went the distance, allowing five hits — all singles — over 8 1/3 innings with four strikeouts and one walk. He retired 12 straight batters at one point and didn't allow a runner past second base after the first inning.
OU shortstop Caleb Bushyhead, 0-for-3 on the night, called Ottoson a “thumber” in reference to his soft-tossing style.
“It shouldn't be that tough to adjust to,” Bushyhead said. “We've seen thumbers from the left side all year — you get that a lot from lefties. It's something you have to adjust to and we didn't make that adjustment tonight.
“I can understand the first time through the lineup, but after that we should be able to make adjustments and start racking the ball around the yard a little better.”
Said Golloway: “We chased a lot of balls out of the zone, which allowed him to be effective. We saw the big loop it had in it, so we had to swing at it.”
More patient at the plate, the Cowboys worked counts against Magnifico, combining four walks and seven hits for four runs.
“We made Magnifico locate his pitches, get ahead in counts and capitalize on it when we had runners in scoring position,” said OSU catcher Jared Womack, who had two hits and walk.
The Cowboys tacked on two runs in the eighth off OU reliever Steven Okert.
Ottoson, 3-5, was not made available for comment. An Arizona State transfer who has been drafted four times, Anderson skipped him in his normal spot in the rotation over the weekend against Texas Tech.
But for now, Ottoson has satisfied Anderson with his efforts to meet obligations established to end his suspension from the squad.
“He did everything that he was supposed to last week,” Anderson said. “We basically had no contact with him. He had stuff that he had to get done the entire week. We wouldn't allow him around the team. And he met those things for last week.
“Every week until we're done he has stuff. It's not over with.”