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Rounding Third: Cowboys win three of four despite snow

OSU won its 11th-straight home opener last week and is now 7-4 on the season.

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Photo courtesy of Bruce Waterfield (@osusportsphotog)

Record: 7-4
Streak: Won 1

The Pokes win yet another home opener, but a huge winter storm forced the Western Illinois series to move to Auburn University.

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

OSU Wins 11th Straight Home Opener, Then Heads South

The Cowboys had only lost five home openers since moving to Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in 1981, and that wasn’t about to change this season.

OSU took advantage of two Missouri State errors for a comfortable 7-2 win. Western Illinois was set to visit Stillwater for a three-game series, but both teams traveled to Auburn, Alabama to avoid the blizzard that swept through the Midwest over the weekend.

A three-run rally in the 7th, capped by Jon Littell’s RBI groundout, gave OSU a 4-3 victory Friday. The five-game win streak came to an end Saturday against Auburn, a 9-2 beating in which starter Jon Perrin was pulled midway through the 4th after allowing four runs.

The Pokes got back in the win column Sunday against Western Illinois. Starter Michael Freeman pitched an excellent game, allowing just two hits while striking out 10 in eight innings.

Bryan Case, Jacob Chappell and Tim Arakawa provided the RBIs in the 5-0 win.

Last Week’s Results

Wednesday: No. 10 OSU 7, Missouri State 2
Winning Pitcher: Alex Hackerott (1-0)
Battenfield: 4 IP, 0 R, 3 K
Hackerott: 2 IP, 0 H, 3 K
Arakawa: 1-3, 2 RBI, R

Friday: No. 10 OSU 4, Western Illinois 3
Winning Pitcher: Carson LaRue (1-0)
Save: Koda Glover (2)
Nurdin: 3.2 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 6 K, 5 BB
Arakawa: 1-3, game-tying 3B, scored go-ahead R
Green: 2-3, 3B, R, SB

Saturday: Auburn 9, No. 10 OSU 2
Losing Pitcher: Jon Perrin (1-2)
Perrin: 4.1 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 0 K
Auburn: 17 hits as a team
Dustin Williams: 2-3, 3B, RBI

Sunday: No. 10 OSU 5, Western Illinois 0
Winning Pitcher: Michael Freeman (2-0)
Freeman: 8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, career-high 10 K
Arakawa: 1-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Case: 1-3, R, 2 RBI

In The Polls (As of March 2)

Baseball America: 10th (10th last week)
Collegiate Baseball: 14th (10th last week)
D1Baseball.com: 21st (19th last week)
NCBWA: 16th (16th last week)[last updated 2/23]
USA Today: 7th (last updated 1/29)

Offensive Player of the Week
Tim Arakawa, Sr. 2B

With offense at a premium – only three players had a multi-hit game this week – Arakawa proved the most consistent. He was 4-13 from the plate with two triples, and scored five runs while knocking in five more.

The Hawaiian has a hit in every game this season, and has a 12-game hit streak dating back to last season. He now leads the team in runs and RBIs, and is second in stolen bases.

With his double play partner Donnie Walton out with a wrist injury, Arakawa has increased his output and become one of the leaders on this team.

Pitcher of the Week
Michael Freeman, Sr. LHP

Freeman had the best start of any OSU pitcher this season, striking out a career-best 10 WIU Leathernecks in eight innings, while allowing two hits and no walks.

The 6-8 lefty lowered his season ERA to 2.55 and leads the team with 17 strikeouts, reminiscent of another tall lefty with a penchant for strikeouts…

Team Stats Leaders

Batting Average: D. Williams, .407
Runs: Arakawa, 13
RBIs: Arakawa, 12
HR: Green, 2
SB: Green, 4
Wins: Freeman, 2
Innings: Freeman, 17.2
ERA: Reed, 0.00 (7.1 IP)
Strikeouts: Freeman, 17

Tweets of the Week

The reigning Big 12 MVP catching a game before his season begins.

https://twitter.com/OSUZachFish/status/570715403795632128

 Some great action shots.

This was an awesome moment.

He’s had two in the past three games.

Upcoming Games

It was going to be a busy week for the Cowboys, but weather affects the schedule for two weeks in a row.

Last week, OSU and Western Illinois came to an agreement with Auburn to use the Tigers’ field to avoid the blizzard that hit Stillwater in the early hours of Saturday, leaving the town under a blanket of snow and ice that made me feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas were right around the corner.

This week, the Cowboys couldn’t find anywhere to host the midweek games with UNLV, and those games have been cancelled with no announced plans to make them up.

That leaves the focus solely on the weekend series against No. 25 Illinois (8-2-1), one of the favorites to win the Big 10 this season.

The Fighting Illini have one of the nation’s top pitching staffs (1.97 ERA, 0.83 WHIP), and have even won with a game-ending hit by pitch this year.

Assuming the weather cooperates, this will be the first home series of the year for OSU. A few quality wins this weekend go a long way when the playoff committee is considering resumes.

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