STILLWATER — Donnie Walton drilled a ball to right field, then took off, conjuring up some fantasy scenario as he watched it continue to carry.
“I hoped that fence would come in, so it would go over,” Walton said.
No help needed, as the Cowboys freshman got just enough for his first career home run Thursday night, the initial big blow in No. 16 Oklahoma State's 7-4 win over West Virginia at Reynolds Stadium.
“About time, huh?” Walton said after the game.
Not necessarily, since the Cowboys don't rely on their 5-foot-9, 176-pound second baseman for much muscle.
Still, they'll take it, especially in this dead-bat era of college baseball. Even first-year Cowboys coach Josh Holliday, whose OSU roots go back to the big-blast days of the program, recognizes how times have changed. His team, which entered the series with eight home runs in 20 conference games, actually puts more emphasis on small ball, which also paid off Thursday night — again with Walton — on a safety squeeze that produced a run.
“Home runs are nice, I'm not going to lie to you,” Holliday said. “When one swing of the bat can create two and three runs, that's a heck of a lot better than needing five singles.
“College baseball is different (now). You don't get many of those. So when you do get 'em, yeah, they're sweet.”
Something else sweet: winning, which this team continues to do, improving to 38-13 overall and 12-9 in the Big 12 and moving into a second-place tie with Oklahoma in the conference standings.
West Virginia dropped to 30-24 and 12-10.
The Cowboys won their latest with solid pitching and contributions from several spots in the lineup. Aaron Cornell, getting a start in left field, went 2-for-4 out of the eight hole and clubbed another unexpected homer, his second of the season. Jarrett Higgins added two hits from the nine spot.