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Rounding Third: Cowboys drop two to San Diego

Snow plus no offense make for a disappointing week.

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OSU has the midweek game cancelled for snow, but might have wished the entire weekend were wiped out.

Here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:

Mother Nature Forces Some Changes

Due to the out-of-season (and definitely out-of-favor) snow early in the week, the Cowboys were forced to cancel their midweek game against Grambling State and move Saturday’s game into a Friday doubleheader due to freezing temperatures.

It’s not uncommon for college baseball teams to have to deal with cold temperatures early in the season; that’s why you see teams play tournaments in Texas and Arizona this time of the year. But it can be a tough adjustment for the players, and especially the pitchers, who are usually particular about their routines and schedules.

Fireworks From Both Teams As OSU Splits Doubleheader

Fans got their money’s worth Friday as the Cowboys played the first two games of the series against the University of San Diego. The Pokes were down five runs after the first inning, but as usual, they fought their way back, getting four in the fourth and two in the eighth to steal a win, 6-5.

The hits kept coming in Game 2, but OSU found itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Again, the Cowboys went down early, giving up four in the first this time. They fought back, but couldn’t get the stops they needed on defense.

The Toreros added the dagger in the ninth, tacking on four more when OSU had pulled it back to 6-5. The Cowboys added one in the last at-bat, but fell 10-6.

Lack of Offense Continues; Pokes Drop Rubber Match

The hitting woes persisted for the Cowboys on Sunday, as they only got six hits in getting shut out for the first time this year, 7-0. OSU closes the weekend winning only one of three games, while being outscored 22-12. Winning games isn’t easy when you hit only .186 as a team in a series.

Last Week’s Results

Wednesday: No. 12 OSU vs. Grambling State (cancelled – snow)

Friday: No. 12 OSU 6, No. 24 San Diego 5
Winning Pitcher: Brendan McCurry (1-0)
OSU: Down 5-0 after one inning
McCurry: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Costello: HR (2), 2 RBI
Fish: GW 1B in 8th inning

Friday: No. 24 San Diego 10, No. 12 OSU 6
Losing Pitcher: Thomas Hatch (2-2)
OSU: Down 4-0 after one inning
Hatch: 6.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 H
Costello: Solo HR (3)
Krietemeier: 3B, 2 R

Sunday: No. 24 San Diego 7, No. 12 OSU 0
Losing Pitcher: Conor Costello (0-1)
OSU: 6 H, 9 K
Costello: 3 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 4 BB
Fish: 2-3, 2B

In The Polls (As of March 3)

USA Today: 12th (18th last week)
Collegiate Baseball: 12th (11th last week)
NCBWA: 13th (14th last week)
Baseball America: Unranked[1. At this point, I’m refusing to recognize this as a legit poll. Also, they have Texas going from 15th to 10th and TCU from 16th to 22nd.]

Offensive Player of the Week

Conor Costello, Soph. DH

The Arkansas transfer was just 2-7 from the plate, but made both hits count as he hit his second and third home runs of the season. He also contributed two runs and three RBIs.

Pitcher of the Week

Blake Battenfield, Fr. RHP

Battenfield pitched 4.1 shutout innings this weekend, including four innings in the first game of the doubleheader on Friday. He struck out two and allowed no hits, giving the Cowboys a chance to come from behind for the win.

Team Stats Leaders

Batting Average: Fish, .365
Runs: Walton, 13
RBIs: Krietemeier, 14
HR: Krietemeier, 4
SB: Green, 6
Wins: Perrin, Freeman & Hatch, 2
Innings: Hatch, 22.0
ERA: Battenfield, 0.00 (10.1 IP)
Strikeouts: Perrin, 20

Tweets of the Week

I almost didn’t recognize him at the game on Friday.

A great game and fantastic weather. This is what baseball is all about.

 

The backup plan in case baseball doesn’t work out:

Upcoming Games

OSU completes its seven-game home stand this week, starting with a Tuesday matchup against Wichita State (9-4). The Cowboys will then play host to Texas-Pan American (9-7) for three games. The first is scheduled for Friday evening, with the teams playing a doubleheader Saturday.

Three Things To Watch For

1. One reason for the recent struggles for OSU might be how they start games, specifically the first inning. In the first seven games for the Cowboys, they outscored their opponents 8-5 in the first inning, and were undefeated in that stretch. But in the eight games since, OSU has been outscored 14-4 in the first inning, and are just 4-4 in those games.

I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s a different mindset when you go to the plate for your first at-bats of the game and are already down multiple runs. OSU will need to find a way to settle down as soon as the game starts, and not in the second or third inning.

2. There’s some concern with how the offense has performed the past two weeks. Right now OSU sits seventh in the Big 12 with a .253 team batting average. The on-base percentage and slugging percentage is decent, but the Cowboys simply aren’t getting hits. And when the pitching has been shaky (which it has: OSU is eighth in the conference with a 4.03 team ERA), drawing walks isn’t going to cut it. If the players can find more patience at the plate (a conference-leading 101 strikeouts), the hits will start coming, along with the wins.

3. This weekend was a chance for the Cowboys to make a statement to the league and the nation, but they didn’t take advantage of it. Now they need to regroup and solve some problems on both sides of the ball, and quickly. Big 12 play starts after this weekend, and the conference is looking better each week. If OSU can make those adjustments at the plate and on the mound, it should be in contention for the conference title.

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