Connect with us

Baseball

Midweek Preview: Freeman as Big 12 Pitcher of the Year?

Wichita State visits Allie P. on Tuesday for a great midweek clash between two old rivals.

Published

on

Is Michael Freeman on pace to be Big 12 Pitcher of the Year? (YouTube)

Is Michael Freeman on pace to be Big 12 Pitcher of the Year? (YouTube)

Beating the best team in the land can put a target on your back, but the Cowboys look ready for it. 

Here’s a look at where they stand in the national polls, some info on the upcoming game against Wichita State and three things to watch this week.

In The Polls (As of March 23)

Collegiate Baseball: 12th (19th last week)
NCBWA: 21st (23rd last week)
USA Today: 23rd (28th last week)
Baseball America: 23rd (Unranked last week)
D1Baseball.com: Unranked (Unranked last week)

Midweek Opponent

Wichita State (11-12, 3-0 MVC)
All-Time Series: OSU leads 55-33
Most recent: OSU 3-0 (April 30, 2014)
6 p.m., Allie P. Reynolds Stadium
Live: Stillwater Radio 93.7 FM, Twitter: @OSUBaseball

Winners of five straight, the Shockers head to Stillwater to face possibly the most confident team in the nation.

Wichita State had a rough start to the season, starting 3-9 before turning the season around. The offense has revitalized the team, scoring 67 runs during the win streak.

The Shockers love to run even more than OSU, with the 8th-most stolen bases in the country. That could be a problem behind the plate for Gage Green (26.6% caught stealing rate) and Bryan Case (40%).

But the offense (.274 BA) and the pitching staff (4.11 ERA) leave a lot to be desired.

Because Wichita State apparently likes a challenge, after facing OSU the Shockers head to Fort Worth for a three-game series against TCU (good luck with that).

On paper, OSU should win this game handily. But will there be a hangover after beating No. 1 TCU?

Players To Watch:

CF Daniel Kihle (.310, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 9 SB)
1B Ryan Tinkham (.303, 11 2B, 17 RBI, 11 BB)
RHP Taylor Goshen (3-2, 3.45 ERA, 16 K in 12 appearances)

Three Things To Watch 

1. Walton is back

Donnie Walton returned to the lineup last weekend, recording his first hit and RBI of the season. He missed 18 games after requiring surgery on his wrist, but returns a few weeks earlier than expected.

Keep an eye on how Holliday plugs Walton back into the lineup. He’s been a vital part of this team the past two years, and his return can only improve the Big 12’s best offense.

2. Taking care of business?

Now that the Cowboys have proven they can beat the best team in the land, can they maintain that level of competition against the rest of the schedule?

Holliday has done a great job of keeping the team levelheaded in his first two seasons, and I expect OSU to follow up the series win against TCU like any other series.

By the time the Cowboys take the field against Wichita State, last weekend will be far from the players’ minds. This is just the springboard the team needs to make a push to win another Big 12 title and host another Super Regional.

3. The trajectory of Michael Freeman

I talk about Michael Freeman a lot, but he deserves to be talked about.

His breakout season has last week’s conference pitcher of the week in the running for Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, and I’d argue that he’s had a better season than last year’s winner.

You be the judge:

Preston Morrison: 5-0, 1.62 ERA, 39 IP, 33 K, 8 BB
Michael Freeman: 4-0, 1.63 ERA, 38.2 IP, 37 K, 6 BB

Be sure to check back Friday for a preview of the conference series against Kansas State.

Most Read