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Conference Series Preview: West Virginia

It’s the last home series of the regular season for the Cowboys, and the implications on the conference title race are huge.



As finals week comes to a close, the Cowboys look to finish conference play on a high note with West Virginia coming to town.

The Breakdown

No. 9 OSU vs West Virginia (24-23, 6-12 Big 12)
Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, Stillwater
Today: 2:00 p.m.
Saturday: 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 1:00 p.m.
All-Time Series: OSU leads 8-2
Last Season: 3-0 OSU (outscored WVU 22-6 in three-game sweep)

It’s the last home series of the season for the Cowboys, and despite West Virginia’s record, this is a crucial weekend. OSU finds itself a half-game behind TCU for the conference lead, but TCU has six remaining conference games and OSU has only three.

West Virginia comes to town on a six-game losing streak, during which the Mountaineers are giving up 7.5 runs per game. On paper this series looks like a cakewalk for the Cowboys. A sweep here puts all the pressure on TCU, but will the Cowboys overlook WVU?

Advantage: OSU

Let’s talk about the emergence of Ryan Sluder for a second. In the 19 conference games he’s played this season, he’s hitting .397/.453/.690 with five home runs and 10 RBIs. He’s slugging .690! Obviously he’s not the only slugger having a successful season, but he’s put his name on the map. And just being a sophomore, he has at least another season to contribute for the Cowboys.

West Virginia is averaging just 3.44 runs per game in conference play, with a .235 team batting average. However, Kyle Davis (.351, 28 RBIs) and Taylor Munden (11 HR, 8 SB) will be a handful for the Cowboy pitching staff.

Advantage: OSU

Led by Golden Spikes finalist Michael Freeman, OSU boasts a 2.87 team ERA – second-best in the Big 12 – with opponents hitting just .236 against this staff. In conference games, OSU actually has the best pitching staff – yes, better than TCU – posting a 2.39 ERA. Pretty incredible once you consider the Cowboys haven’t had a reliable Sunday starter since Freeman moved to Saturdays.

West Virginia has a 4.02 team ERA, which only gets worse in Big 12 play (4.51). Starters Vance Ross (6-4, 3.12 ERA, 70 K) and Chad Donato (6-5, 2.87 ERA) are solid pitchers, but often don’t get enough run support. Hard to see that changing this weekend.

Advantage: OSU

Randy Mazey is in his third year at West Virginia, “having led the team to unprecedented heights in each of his first two seasons,” according to the school website. Those “unprecedented heights” include records of 33-26 and 28-26 in his first two seasons.1

Mazey lost his top three hitters from last season, along with 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave, and it’s reflected in the team’s performance this season. West Virginia isn’t what you’d call a prestigious program, so Mazey really has his work cut out for him.


A sweep would be the perfect way to close out the home portion of the regular season. The Cowboys know they have to keep pressure on TCU if they’re gonna win a second consecutive Big 12 title, and I fully expect a well-rested team to the handle the last-place Mountaineers.

Here are the updated conference standings. In case of a tie, OSU has the tiebreaker against both TCU and OU.

Team Conference Record Overall Record
TCU 13-5 37-9
Oklahoma State 14-7 31-15
Oklahoma 11-7 30-21
Texas Tech 12-9 29-20
Texas 9-12 24-24
Kansas State 7-11 23-25
Kansas 7-11 22-28
Baylor 8-13 19-28
West Virginia 6-12 24-23


1. I actually feel sorry for WVU if the last two years are unprecedented.

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