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The Return Of Donnie Walton Helps Cowboys Beat Kansas State

Donnie Walton returned to the starting lineup this weekend, a much needed break the Cowboys needed.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

It was opening day when shortstop Donnie Walton found out he would need surgery on his hamate bone and could miss three to six weeks.

The return of its star-infielder a little bit earlier than expected helped Oklahoma State beat Kansas State 4-1 on Sunday.

Although it was a pretty quick return, Walton took all the time he needed, missing 21 games before returning to play in this past weekend's matchup against TCU.

"I'm just happy to get the chance to play again," Walton said. "It could have been a lot worse, I'm just thankful I get to be back this early with the help of Eli (Williams), our trainer, I'm just happy to be out here with my team."

This weekend's series against Kansas State (12-14 overall, 1-5 Big 12) was his return to the starting lineup, though and it was great timing.

Third baseman Jacob Chappell, who had to replace Donnie when he suffered his injury, was excited to have his teammate back on the diamond.

"It's great, I mean it's fun playing with Donnie," Chappell said. "Being able to play next to him is an honor. It's just fun you know, he's just out there talking, we're just kicking it and we're just, playin' baseball."

In Walton's first series back as a starter he scored four runs and knocked in three RBIs while hitting .400.

The three RBIs, though, are probably the biggest stat for Walton, being as they came today when the Cowboys (19-8, 4-2) needed them most to beat the Kansas State Wildcats.

His first RBI came by way of a sacrifice fly to bring in who other than Chappell in the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1.

After finally scoring, the Cowboys were able to start putting pressure on the Wildcats bullpen, scoring one more run in the seventh before Walton would get another chance.

Then, on the third pitch of a quick at-bat after Wildcat pitcher had walked two consecutive Cowboys, Walton hit a double, the one and only extra base hit of the game.

The double brought in two runs and made sure the game was out of reach for the Wildcats, who couldn't find a way to hit Cowboy pitcher Michael Freeman.

OSU coach Josh Holliday said he knows the value of having Walton in the lineup and more than glad to have the big-time player back.

"I'm just really proud of him for the way he has handled everything," coach Josh Holliday said. "The adversity of being hurt, the way he's stayed ready, the way he's bounced back, the way he stepped right in and contributed. He's a winner.

"Donnie's a winner, that's it."