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Rounding Third: Big 12 play around the corner

OSU squeaked out a couple of wins and it’s almost conference time.

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A walkoff win caps a crazy week for OSU. Here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:

Shockers Ride Early Lead To Victory Over OSU

Last week I talked about how the Cowboys had been getting outscored in the first inning recently, and the trend continued against Wichita State. By the third inning, the Shockers held a 6-0 lead. OSU added a few late runs to make it close, but WSU allowed only six Cowboy hits in a 6-4 victory.

Cowboys Remember How To Hit, Crush Abilene Christian

Sometimes you just need to beat up on a weaker team to get your mojo back. This was one of those games. OSU scored 11 runs in the first four innings to quickly put this one to rest. Homers by Krietemeier and Fish, along with x RBI from y, quelled the recent struggles at the plate and gave the Pokes a 15-7 win. The win snapped a three-game losing streak.

Different Doubleheader, Same Result

OSU played its second doubleheader in as many weekends when UT-Pan American visited for a three-game set. The Cowboys dropped the first game, mainly due to UTPA starter Sam Street throwing 8.2 innings of dominant baseball. OSU mustered only one run in dropping the first game, 3-1.

The second game would be different, though, as the Pokes got out to an early 1-0 lead. However, they found themselves tied in the 8th before Saulyer Saxon provided a pinch-hit RBI single that proved to be the difference, as the Cowboys took game two, 4-3.

Arakawa, ‘Cardiac Cowboys’ Walkoff Winners

It was a thrilling rubber match Saturday as UTPA and OSU put on a show for everyone in attendance. The Broncs took a 2-0 lead after the first, and that started a sequence in which the Cowboys would tie the game, only for UTPA to retake the lead. Heading into the 9th, the Pokes found themselves trailing by one.

But with the bases loaded and two outs, Tim Arakawa delivered a hard grounder past the first baseman, giving OSU the walkoff 7-6 win.

Last Week’s Results

Tuesday: Wichita State 6, No. 15 OSU 4
Losing Pitcher: Mark Robinette (0-1)
Robinette: 6 IP, 4 ER (6 R), 7 H, career-high 8 K
Krietemeier: 2-4, 2B, 2 R
Green: 2-4, 2 SB, R

Thursday: No. 15 OSU 15, Abilene Christian 7
Winning Pitcher: Garrett Williams (2-0)
Williams: 5 IP, 0 ER (1 R), 6 H, 4 K
Krietemeier/Fish: HR, 3 RBI each
Walton: 4-4, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB
Costello: 2-4, 2B, 2 R

Friday: UT-Pan American 3, No. 15 OSU 1
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Nurdin (1-2)
OSU: 3 errors, 11 runners left on base
Arakawa: 2B, SB
McConaughy: 2-3, RBI
Wheeland: 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 5 K

Friday: No. 15 OSU 4, UT-Pan American 3
Winning Pitcher: Brendan McCurry (2-0)
Saxon: PH GW RBI single in 8th
Fish: 3-4, HR (4), 2 R
McCurry: 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 3 K

Saturday: No. 15 OSU 7, UT-Pan American 6
Winning Pitcher: Brendan McCurry (3-0)
Arakawa: GW 2 RBI single in 9th
McConaughy: 2B, 2 RBI
Cobb: 3.1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K

In The Polls (As of March 10)

Collegiate Baseball: 15th (12th last week)
USA Today: 16th (12th last week)
NCBWA: 19th (13th last week)
Baseball America: Unranked

Offensive Player of the Week

Gage Green, Jr. C/CF

Green was a big sparkplug for the Cowboys this week. He hit .471 (8-17), including a double and five runs. He also had an RBI, two walks and three stolen bases, giving him a team-leading nine this season, and tying him for third in the Big 12.

Pitcher of the Week

Trey Cobb, Fr. RHP

The freshman from Broken Arrow is starting to make a name for himself, in a good way. In two appearances this week, he threw 4.1 innings, allowing just one unearned run on three hits.

He also had seven strikeouts to no walks. His 3.1 innings of lockdown pitching Saturday kept OSU in the game and allowed the team to get the comeback win and generate some momentum heading into this week.

Team Stats Leaders

Batting Average: Fish, .348
Runs: Krietemeier, 17
RBIs: Krietemeier, 17
HR: Krietemeier, 5
SB: Green, 9
Wins: McCurry, 3
Innings: Hatch, 26.1
ERA: Battenfield, 0.00 (13.1 IP)
Strikeouts: Perrin, 25

Tweets of the Week

A reminder that they are students too.

Very cool.

I have no idea but it sounds pretty cool.

Upcoming Games

The Cowboys leave town for the first time in two weeks when they travel to Springfield to take on an 8-9 Missouri State team, who has lost six straight, on Tuesday. Then OSU heads to Waco for the first Big 12 series of the year, playing three games against Baylor (10-9).

Know Your Conference Foe

Since we are starting conference play this week, I thought I’d start a new section and break down the Big 12 opponent each week. This week we are looking at the baseball Baylor Bears, who I’ve been told aren’t coached by Scott Drew and have yet to attempt to wear Sic ‘Em Bears jerseys.

Baylor comes in at 10-9 and has a midweek game against Houston Baptist before hosting the Cowboys. They are 5-3 in their past eight games, including two wins each against then-No. 4 Cal State Fullerton and Texas Tech. Their best hitter is sophomore first baseman Mitch Price (.286/.435/.486), who leads the team in RBIs and slugging percentage.

Other than that, there isn’t much to this Baylor offense. As a team, the Bears hit .234, which is last in the Big 12. They are also last in runs and hits, and have the second-most strikeouts of any conference team. The pitching isn’t much better, ranking seventh in ERA, eighth in strikeouts and runs allowed, and last in walks issued.

While overall the pitching doesn’t look good, Baylor has a pair of great starters in Austin Stone and Brad Kuntz. Stone leads the league with a 1.29 ERA, and has only allowed 18 hits in 28.1 innings. Meanwhile, Kuntz leads the team in wins (3-0) and is second with a 1.79 ERA. If the Cowboys can force both of these starters out early and get to the Bears bullpen, OSU should be in great shape this weekend.

By the way, all three games in this series will be televised – Friday and Sunday will be on Fox College Sports Pacific, and Saturday on Fox College Sports Central. Good luck finding those channels.

Three Things To Watch For

1. OSU is about the perfect opposite to Baylor when it comes to pitching. The bullpen is great, and has nine of the 14 wins this season. The starters have struggled, though. Thomas Hatch and Tyler Nurdin lead the team with five starts each, and have ERAs of 5.47 and 7.23 respectively.

The bullpen has seen a lot of innings so far this season, probably more than coach Josh Holliday would prefer. It’s a deep bullpen, but the starters need to put in better performances as the team enters Big 12 play.

2. Speaking of needing better performances, a look at the conference statistics will tell you there’s room for improvement all across the board. OSU is seventh in team hitting and last in team pitching in the Big 12 right now.

That’s not to say everyone is struggling. Fish and Walton are 10th and 11th respectively in batting average, and both appear on top 10 lists for doubles, hits and RBIs. McCurry and Perrin have both been great coming out of the ‘pen for the Cowboys as well. But as a team, there needs to be improvement.

It’s a team game for a reason, and OSU will need more than Fish and Walton carrying the offense, and certainly will need more than Perrin and McCurry on the mound.

3. The Cowboys leave Stillwater for the first time since the start of March, and have only played one true road game this season. Will this team be able to handle four road games this week? Either the team will be focused and prepared, or will look like they’d rather be on the beach for spring break. Hopefully it’s the former.

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