— O'Colly (@OColly) March 31, 2014
Record: 22-10 overall, 5-4 Big 12 (T-3rd)
Streak: Won 1
A fantastic week for the Pokes, who won three games against ranked teams. Here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:
Cowboys Go Yard, Stifle Sooners In First Bedlam Matchup
There’s no better start to a week than beating your rival, and that’s just what OSU did. Gage Green and Tim Arakawa hit their first home runs of the season, and the pitching took care of the rest. Five pitchers combined to allow only three hits as the Cowboys rolled, 3-1.
More Excellent Pitching Gives Cowboys Fourth Straight Win
Jon Perrin started the weekend series against Texas Tech and really flexed his muscles, spreading five hits over six innings while striking out four. His only mistake was a solo home run allowed in the 5th, but his offense had his back. Gage Green had a double and stole his 13th base of the season, and Conor Costello had an RBI double as the Cowboys got a second straight 3-1 victory.
Ugly Setback as OSU Allows Most Runs In Four Years
There aren’t many things that went right in this one. Tech’s Adam Kirsch made an argument for why he’s one of the best hitters in the Big 12, going 3-5 with two doubles, a home run and six RBIs. In all, Tech pushed across 16 runs, scoring in six different innings. It’s the most runs OSU has given up since losing 17-3 to Kansas back on April 30, 2010.
There were a few bright spots though. Andrew Rosa went 2-2 and hit his first home run as a Cowboy, and Gage Green was 2-3 with a double and RBI. It wasn’t enough though, as OSU’s winning streak came to an end with a 16-6 loss.
Back To Winning Ways As Pokes Come From Behind Again
This one looked like it could get ugly, as OSU gave up another first-inning run and had just three hits through six innings. But the Pokes came alive in the 7th and 8th, scoring four runs in each inning. Conor Costello had two doubles, Saulyer Saxon had three RBIs and Brendan McCurry moved up to second on OSU’s career saves list as the Cowboys beat Tech, 8-3.
The win gives the Pokes their second straight series win, making them 7-2 in their past nine games. That’s some great momentum heading into the second half of the season.
Last Week’s Results
Tuesday: No. 20 OSU 3, No. 29 Oklahoma 1
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Nurdin (2-2)
Save: Brendan McCurry (5)
Nurdin: 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 K
Green: 2-4, Solo HR (1)
Arakawa: 1-3, HR (1), 2 RBI, SB
Friday: No. 20 OSU 3, No. 25 Texas Tech 1
Winning Pitcher: Jon Perrin (3-2)
Save: Brendan McCurry (6)
Perrin: 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 4 K
Green: 2-3, 2B, R, SB
Saxon: 1-2, 2B, R, RBI, BB
Saturday: No. 25 Texas Tech 16, No. 20 OSU 6
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Buffett (2-1)
Rosa: 2-2, HR (1), 2 R, 2 RBI
Green: 2-3, 2B, R, RBI
OSU: Most runs given up since 4/30/2010 (17-3 loss to KU)
Sunday: No. 20 OSU 8, No. 25 Texas Tech 3
Winning Pitcher: Vince Wheeland (2-0)
Save: Brendan McCurry (7)
Saxon: PH 2-run single in 7th
Costello: 2-5, 2 2B, R
Arakawa: 1-4, 3B, 2 R
In The Polls (As of March 31)
NCBWA: 20th (24th last week)
USA Today: Unranked (Unranked last week)
Collegiate Baseball: Unranked (Unranked last week)
Baseball America: Unranked (Unranked all season in this poll)
Offensive Player of the Week
Gage Green, Jr. C/CF & Tim Arakawa, Jr. 2B
Both of these guys had such great weeks, it was hard to choose just one of them. Arakawa and Green both hit their first home runs of the season Tuesday in Norman, and kept it up through the weekend. Green was 5-14 (.357) with two doubles and three RBIs. He also had three runs, a walk, and his team-leading 13th steal of the year. Arakawa hit 4-12 (.333) with a triple and three RBIs, while adding four runs, a walk, and his ninth swiped bag of the season. These two guys were crucial to OSU’s success this week.
Pitcher of the Week
Brendan McCurry, Sr. Closer
McCurry was back in his element this week, closing out each Cowboy win. He had only a hit batsman in 3.1 otherwise perfect inning, striking out three in the process. On the season, he is now 5-0 with a 0.42 ERA and seven saves. That leaves him three saves away from becoming OSU’s all-time saves leader and four saves away from setting an OSU single-season record.
Team Stats Leaders
Batting Average: Green, .337
Runs: Krietemeier & Arakawa, 21
RBIs: Krietemeier, 21
HR: Krietemeier, 6
SB: Green, 13
Wins: McCurry, 5
Innings: Perrin, 44.1
ERA: Battenfield, 0.38
Strikeouts: Perrin, 42
Tweets of the Week
If it means getting out of school/work, I’m all on board.
Today should be a national holiday #OpeningDay ⚾️⚾️⚾️
— Mark Robinette (@Robinette10) March 31, 2014
Congrats indeed. Can’t wait to see how he does this year.
Congrats to @Jason_Hursh on getting a hit in his first professional at bat. I never thought you'd even put it in play. #1.000
— Saulyer Saxon (@saulyersaxon) April 5, 2014
I’ll let this one speak for itself.
— megan douglas (@meganndouglas) April 5, 2014
I never get over how incredible this field always looks.
— Phil Forte (@PhilForte13) April 5, 2014
Quite the interesting way to watch an OSU baseball game.
The Cowboys will host Arkansas-Little Rock (13-16) for a non-conference matchup tonight. The Trojans come to Stillwater after winning just three of their past 10 games. After that, OSU will head east to Morgantown to take on West Virginia (16-11, 2-3 Big 12) for three games. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch, with Saturday’s game starting at 3 p.m. and Sunday’s game at noon (all times CST).
Know Your Conference Foe
The Cowboys travel to West Virginia looking to win their third straight Big 12 series, after taking two of three from TCU and Tech. WVU is 5-5 in its past 10 games. In Big 12 play, the Mountaineers won both games against Baylor, but were swept by TCU last weekend, scoring just four runs in three games. They will travel to Penn State for one game before hosting the Cowboys.
This isn’t a good offensive team. As a team, they hit .273/.350/.361 and are in the bottom of the conference in most categories. They have hit the third-most home runs, though, and love to steal when they get on base. That should be a good challenge for the OSU catching corps, who have thrown out 20 of 45 base stealers this season.
For the ‘Eers, Ryan McBroom is their masher. He’s hitting .343/.415/.562 and is tied with Krietemeier for the conference lead in homers. Bobby Boyd and Billy Fleming are also both hitting over .340 this season, but if the Cowboys can limit those three guys, they should be in good shape.
This is one of the better pitching staffs in the league, so OSU will have to be patient at the plate this weekend. The staff is led by Harrison Musgrave (3-1, 1.96 ERA, 51 K) and John Means (4-1, 1.72 ERA, 26 K), who are both top 10 in ERA. If OSU can chase these guys early and get to the bullpen (5.18 ERA), the scoreboard shouldn’t see many zeros on the visitor line.
OSU will need a successful weekend if it wants to stay in the conference title race. There is still a trip to conference-leading UT, a home series against KU and the Bedlam series against second-place OU. The Cowboys can control their own destiny, but losing this series would be costly.
Three Things To Watch For
1. The small ball has been working this season. The Cowboys lead the league in walks, are second in sacrifice hits, and third in stolen bases. All of that has led to OSU having the second-best on-base percentage in the conference despite the second-worst batting average.
This team wouldn’t have 22 wins so far without some successful small ball, but in order to beat teams like Texas and Oklahoma, they will need to start hitting the ball.
2. Maybe a bit surprisingly, OSU leads the conference in home runs with 21 so far this year. This season’s squad is on pace to hit more home runs than last year (.66 HR/game, .52 last year), which would be a good thing if it were not on pace to have a worse slugging percentage (.401 last year, .383 this year).
OSU has two of the top home run hitters in the Big 12 in Tanner Krietemeier (6) and Zach Fish (5), but the hits haven’t been coming. If these guys could hit a few more doubles and get on base more often, this team would have what I consider the Triple Threat of Hitting (small ball, power, and average). That would be a dangerous team in Omaha.
3. Well, the streak is over for freshman Blake Battenfield. He finally allowed his first run of the season Sunday, ending his consecutive scoreless innings streak at 24. He was an out away from tying Andrew Heaney for the longest streak in recent OSU history. But I want to break down Battenfield’s streak a bit more.
The streak lasted over 13 appearances, in which he allowed eight hits and seven walks while striking out 21. Opposing batters hit just .103 against him in 78 at-bats. Many times he was thrown into a situation where the team desperately needed an out to avoid falling behind, and he got the job done. He has emerged as a go-to guy in OSU’s bullpen.
That’s a heck of a way to start a career.