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Catching Up On the Big 12’s Best Baseball Team: Where They’ve Been, Where They’re Going

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The Cowboys’ regular season comes down to six games against Texas-based teams. Oklahoma State’s baseball team finds itself atop the Big 12 standings two weeks away from the Big 12 Baseball Championship, and the top seed is the Cowboys’ to lose.

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The magic number for OSU remains three; they need to split their remaining six games to guarantee the top seed and take the regular season Big 12 crown, but that’s attainable even if they were to win fewer. I broke down the possible scenarios here.

If you’re just getting caught up on Cowboy baseball, I’ve broken down what you need to know about the Pokes’ season thus far.

How it started

The Cowboys came into the season fresh off a campaign in which they won the Big 12 Championship as the eighth-seeded team, a feat that had never been done before. Although this season didn’t feature quite as slow of a start, the Cowboys weren’t playing their best ball early in the season.

They were 8-8 on March 16 and lost a home series against Eastern Michigan. OSU was getting out-hit nearly every game, and Carson Teel had yet to make a start on the mound.

How we got here

I said this a couple of weeks ago, but I believe the announcement of the new stadium sparked something underneath the Cowboys. Since that announcement, the Cowboys are 15-7. Before that announcement, they were 13-10-1.

Momentum is real in sports, and I think that gave OSU a much-needed boost of morale. We’ll see if they’re able to continue riding it into the final two series of the regular season.

Teel’s success as a starting pitcher has also helped fuel the Cowboys’ run. Following their four-game losing streak in mid-March, Teel’s debut as a starter in 2018 ended the skid with a 4-2 victory against Missouri State. Teel has since been a part of the Cowboys’ rotation, but he is still used out of the bullpen. He has played in 17 games this season, and OSU is 13-4 in those games.

What lies ahead

As outlined above, six games during the next 10 days separate OSU from the postseason. Baylor and Texas Tech have a combined Big 12 record of 21-18, so although they’re facing quality teams, the Cowboys won’t be playing elite competition in the final two series of the season.

Then comes the Big 12 Baseball Championship from May 23-27. All signs point to OSU securing the No. 1 seed, and the Cowboys are in that position because of a nearly spotless Big 12 record (15-3). One of those losses came against West Virginia and the other two came against Texas in OSU’s conference-opening series.

The Cowboys have a shot at hosting a regional in early June, which D1baseball.com projected last week. Missouri, Houston and Oral Roberts are the three teams that would hypothetically come to Stillwater for the regional.

With so few games left before the postseason, I thought it would also be fun to look back on some of the Cowboys’ most valuable performers throughout the regular season in each major statistical category.

Batting Average
  1. Michael Neustifter — .327
  2. Carson McCusker — .318
  3. Andrew Rosa — .294

Colin Simpson (.293) and Matt Kroon (.280) deserve credit as well; the Cowboys have five players batting .280 or better.

On-base Percentage
  1. Andrew Rosa — .426
  2. Carson McCusker — .406
  3. Matt Kroon — .403
Home Runs
  1. Colin Simpson — 15
  2. Matt Kroon — 7
  3. Carson McCusker — 6
  4. Jon Littell — 6
  5. Christian Funk — 6
Earned Run Average
  1. C.J. Varela — 3.15 (40 innings)
  2. Peyton Battenfield — 3.17 (45 1/3 innings)
  3. Carson Teel — 3.47 (67 innings)
Strikeouts
  1. Carson Teel — 74
  2. Jonathan Heasley — 64
  3. Joe Leinhard — 53
Opponent Batting Average
  1. Noah Sifrit — .191 (19 innings)
  2. Cole Herrean — .222 (five innings)
  3. C.J. Varela — .223 (40 innings)