College

The Rob Walton Effect: Pitching to Success

The Rob Walton Effect: Pitching to Success

Oklahoma State pitching coach Robert Walton has helped create a tradition of pitching excellence since returning to Stillwater in 2012. Walton was brought on staff under head coach Josh Holliday after the Cowboys pitching staffs had previous season ERA’s of 5.56 and 3.76. The OSU pitching staff in Walton’s first year threw for a combined 3.04 ERA and was second in the nation in strikeouts per nine innings. Pitching has been the key for the Cowboys success in this year’s postseason; but before having six of his pitchers drafted in the MLB draft this year, Walton had a long career to help him get back to Stillwater.

In 1983, the Texas Rangers drafted Rob Walton, but he decided to attend college and go to Oklahoma State. Walton stayed in Stillwater all four years and helped take the Cowboys to Omaha every year; he was also named Player of the Game in the College World Series his senior year. After his 20-6 career at OSU, Walton was drafted again and spent four years in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system until a shoulder injury caught up to him and forced him to end his professional baseball career.

After ending his career as a player, Walton spent some time as an area supervisor for the Cleveland Indians before joining the staff at Oral Roberts University as the pitching coach. He spent five years as the pitching coach before taking over the helm and being the head coach at ORU for nine years. During his tenure as skipper at ORU, Walton had 16 pitchers go to the MLB, eight players be named All-Americans and seven players named conference Pitcher of the Year. Walton was also named Summit League Coach of the Year five out of his nine years as the head coach. Walton took a detour in 2008 and took over Team USA baseball in international friendlies vs. Chinese Taipei and in the FISU World Collegiate Championship. While leading Team USA, he had a pitching staff with an ERA of 2.1, which proved Walton’s ability to teach pitching and coach a staff to success. Walton spent three more years at ORU before getting the opportunity to return to his alma mater and help build the OSU program back to greatness.

Since coming back to Stillwater, Walton has helped OSU make four regional appearances, two Super Regional appearances and now a World Series. He has coached notable All-Big 12 pitchers including Vince Wheeland, Michael Freeman, Thomas Hatch and Tyler Buffett. This year, the Cowboy pitching staff was second in the Big 12 in ERA and strikeouts per nine innings and had the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hatch. Walton’s pitchers have the NCAA best .71 ERA this postseason, and it is the reason OSU is 2-0 in the CWS with one game left to win till the championship series.

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