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Previewing Oklahoma State’s Chances at the Clemson Regional



In each of the last two seasons Oklahoma State has had the benefit of playing at home after being selected as regional host. The Cowboys weren’t so lucky this year and will be forced to travel to Clemson, SC as a regional No. 2 seed.

The last time OSU went on the road was back in 2013 when it was eliminated by Louisville in the regional final. The Clemson regional is one of just two sites that feature three teams from “power 5” conferences and it should be one of the more talented regionals in the field.

No. 1 Clemson Tigers (42-18)

Clemson comes into the regionals as one of the hottest teams in the country after running through last week’s ACC tournament, knocking off top 25 team’s Virginia, Louisville and Florida State in the process. Had it not been for this run the Tigers would likely have been a No.2 seed instead of the No. 7 national seed.

The Tigers nine-game winning streak has been sparked by an offense that as much fire power as any in the country. Clemson hits at a modest .271-clip as a team, but it leads the conference with 63 home runs.

Freshman-phenom Seth Beer will be the player to watch in this regional. His 16 home runs, 63 RBIs and .372 avg. make him a leading-candidate for national freshman of the year. Chris Okey (10 HR) and Chase Pinder (12 HR) will also pack a punch in the middle of this lineup.

First-year head coach Monte Lee will have something to prove with the lofty expectations of being a national seed.

No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowboys (36-20)

After back-to-back meltdowns leading to an early exit from the Big 12 tournament Josh Holliday’s gang will enter the regionals without a sliver of momentum. Concerns over the back-end of the bullpen are valid at this point after Tyler Buffett allowed 10 runs in his two appearances last week.

After pitching in 33 games this year you have to wonder if Buffett is just exhausted after being Holliday’s go-to guy all season long.

With Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hatch (6-2, 2.31 ERA) the Cowboys have a good chance in one vs. Nebraska, but will need more than 4-5 innings from Trey Cobb and Jensen Elliott in the games to follow. Elliott led the staff win eights win in the regular season, but showed some signs of fatigue after being overworked in the middle parts of the season.

After missing a large portion of the year OSU finally has Conor Costello back as a force in the middle of the lineup. Costello went 5-for-14 with seven RBIs in the conference tournament and could be the missing piece for an offense that underperformed in the regular season.

This will be the last run for seniors Costello, Donnie Walton, Corey Hassel and possibly Hatch (a draft-eligible soph.). This weekend will determine what kind of legacy they will leave behind.

No. 3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (37-20)

Like the Cowboys, Nebraska took a surprisingly-early exit from its conference tournament. The Cornhuskers had a chance to earn regional No. 2 seed with a good performance, but obviously that didn’t happen.

With the relative weakness of the Big ten this season Nebraska has not seen a team with the talent of Clemson or even OSU this year. Former MLB Outfielder Darin Erstad’s club played a weak non-conference schedule as well, highlighted by a series loss to Long Beach St.

Nebraska has a balanced lineup that features six hitters batting over .275. The most dangerous of that group being Scott Schreiber, who leads the conference with 16 home runs on the year.

The Cornhuskers rotation of Jake Meyers (6-1, 1.38 ERA), Matt Waldron (7-2, 2.39 ERA) and Derek Burkamper (6-3, 3.09 ERA) give them a chance to win this regional. Unlike OSU, Nebraska has stability at the end of games as well with a reliable closer in Chad Luensmann (1.23 ERA, 13 saves).

Nebraska doesn’t have the talent of the top two teams in this regional, but the Huskers have a deep enough pitching staff that could potentially lead them to a super regional.

No. 4 Western Carolina Catamounts (30-29)

Western Carolina enters the field after making a miracle run, beating top-seeded Mercer to win the SoCon tournament.

The Catamounts (great name by the way) relied on closer B.J. Nobles who got the start and pitched into the ninth inning in the win. Nobles could be used a starter in regionals as W. Carolina doesn’t have a single starting pitcher with an ERA less than 5.00.

W. Carolina’s strength comes from its lineup as they hit .304 as a team. Matt Smith leads the team with a .387 avg. and Bryson Bowman ranks top 10 in the nation with 19 home runs on the year.

The Catamounts have an offense capable of pulling an upset, but limited pitching depth should send this team home early.

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