Record: 16-8 overall, 1-2 Big 12 (T-4th)
Streak: Won 1
The start of March Madness also brings the start of conference play. Here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:
Pitchers Blank Bears as OSU Rolls
The Cowboys got the week off to a good start when they traveled to Springfield to take on Missouri State. OSU took a 3-0 lead in the second on a Zach Fish double and Saulyer Saxon’s first collegiate home run, and that was all the pitching staff needed. Tanner Krietemeier added his sixth home run of the campaign, and six Cowboy pitchers combined to allow only three hits as the Pokes cruised, 6-0.
Cowboys Stifled By Top Baylor Pitchers
Coming into the weekend, Baylor’s top two pitchers were top 10 in the conference in ERA and wins. OSU made them look untouchable in both games. Friday got off to a rough start as the Cowboys allowed yet another first inning run, and would find themselves down 3-1 after three. OSU got nine hits but left 13 runners on base and struck out 10 times, including a career-high eight for Baylor starter Brad Kuntz. The Pokes dropped game one, 4-1.
Saturday was an even rougher start, with the Cowboys finding themselves down 3-0 after the first inning. It was more of the same for OSU, who recorded only three hits against Baylor starter Austin Stone. Stone pitched a complete game, striking out seven as OSU lost again by a score of 4-1.
Dominant Bullpen Salvages Win In Rain-Soaked Finale
Having already lost the series, OSU went into Sunday’s game looking to build some momentum for the coming week. Again, the Cowboys fell behind 1-0 after the first inning[1. Baylor has scored in the first inning in eight consecutive games, so maybe that’s more a credit to their offense than a discredit to OSU pitching.] before Mother Nature played a role. The first rain delay lasted almost 3.5 hours before the game resumed, and that’s when the OSU bullpen took over.
First, Tyler Buffett took the mound. He walked his first batter, and then retired the next 12 he faced. The Cowboys took the lead in the sixth before entering another rain delay, this one roughly an hour. Following the break, Garrett Williams came on and pitched four perfect innings, striking out a career-high seven in the process. OSU added a few insurance runs in the ninth, and about seven hours after first pitch, came home with a 4-1 victory.
Last Week’s Results
Tuesday: No. 20 OSU 6, Missouri State 0
Winning Pitcher: Mark Robinette (1-1)
Saxon: 2-4, HR (1), 2 RBI
Krietemeier: 2-4, HR (6), 2 RBI
OSU: Allowed only three hits
Friday: Baylor 4, No. 20 OSU 1
Losing Pitcher: Jon Perrin (2-1)
Krietemeier: 2-5, RBI
Cornell: 2-4, R
OSU: 10 strikeouts, 13 runners LOB
Saturday: Baylor 4, No. 20 OSU 1
Losing Pitcher: Mark Robinette (1-2)
Stone (Baylor): 9 IP, 0 ER (1 R), 3 H, 7 K
Robinette: 0.2 IP, 3 R (all unearned), 2 H, 2 HBP
Saxon: 0-2, R, 2 SB
Sunday: No. 20 OSU 4, Baylor 1
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Buffett (2-0)
Save: G. Williams (1)
G. Williams: 4 IP, 0 H, 7 K
Green: 2-5, 2B, RBI
Arakawa: 2-5, R, SB
Nearly 4.5 hours of rain delays in game
In The Polls (As of March 10)
Collegiate Baseball: 20th (15th last week)
NCBWA: 20th (19th last week)
USA Today: 22nd (16th last week)
Baseball America: Unranked
Offensive Player of the Week
Saulyer Saxon, Sr. CF
Despite rocking an awesome mustache, Saxon earned POTW honors by doing a little bit of everything. He had two runs, two RBIs, two walks, two stolen bases, and to top it off, hit his first career home run in an OSU uniform in Tuesday’s win against Missouri State.
Pitcher of the Week
Garrett Williams, Fr. LHP
The lefty freshman played a huge role in both wins this week. On Tuesday, he pitched three innings, allowing no runs or hits and striking out four. In Sunday’s game against Baylor, he was even better: following a second rain delay, he came on and threw four perfect innings, striking out a career-high seven. He now has a 1.86 ERA on the season, with 21 strikeouts in 19.1 innings.
Team Stats Leaders
Batting Average: Fish, .345
Runs: Krietemeier, 18
RBIs: Krietemeier, 20
HR: Krietemeier, 6
SB: Green, 9
Wins: McCurry, 3
Innings: Perrin, 30.1
ERA: Battenfield, 0.00 (17.1 IP)
Strikeouts: Perrin, 30
Tweets of the Week
Congrats to the senior.
— Wade McWhorter (@WadeMc_Dadx3) March 19, 2014
No one saw it coming.
Well there goes everyone's bracket #Mercer
— Tanner Krietemeier (@Tkriet_9) March 21, 2014
Six degrees of OSU separation in the Duke loss?
— Jordy Mercer (@jordy_mercer) March 21, 2014
I didn’t consider this a compliment.
Baylor baseball announcers just referred to Stillwater as the "Lubbock of Oklahoma". #okstate
— Aaron Schnautz (@apschnautz23) March 22, 2014
Sounds about right for Waco..
This shuttle ride has consisted of 2 red light runs, windshield wipers (it's not raining), and us giving the driver directions #wackowaco
— Kelsi Jones (@KelsiMJ) March 22, 2014
The Cowboys have a rematch against Missouri State (9-12), this time at home on Tuesday. The Bears lost two of three to Wichita State over the weekend. After that, Allie P. Reynolds will host its first Big 12 series of the year as OSU takes on TCU (13-10, 1-2 Big 12). The Horned Frogs lost two of three to Texas Tech last weekend, and have two home games against UT-Pan American before traveling to Stillwater.
Know Your Conference Foe
The Horned Frogs come in to Stillwater this weekend looking a lot like OSU: a few good hitters and pitchers, and still trying to find an identity. TCU is 5-5 in its past 10 games, and haven’t really faced any good teams so far. In its series against Texas Tech, TCU won the first game 9-0 but scored two runs in each loss.
As a team, TCU is hitting .270, good for sixth in the conference. However, this isn’t a power team: they have a slugging percentage of .339 and have only four home runs on the season (Krietemeier has six by himself). TCU is also last in the conference with 84 RBIs. Sophomore outfielder Boomer White leads the team with a .389/.456/.500 line and is one of the best hitters in the league. He was a Freshman All-American last season and plays a vital role in this year’s offense.
The pitching staff is what OSU has to worry about this weekend. TCU has a team ERA of 3.00 (3rd in conference) with 219 strikeouts (1st) and 55 walks allowed (T-1st). The staff is led by junior lefty Brandon Finnegan, who is 4-2 with a 1.44 ERA and 65 strikeouts in just 43.2 innings. He leads the entire nation in both strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings, and will certainly be a handful for the Cowboys.
Three Things To Watch For
1. With an offense that leads the league in striking out, and a pitcher who leads the nation in striking hitters out, how many K’s will Finnegan get against OSU? Three pitchers have recorded 15 in a game so far this season, and there’s a good possibility that Finnegan comes close to that this weekend. The Cowboys will need to use that discipline that also has them leading the league in walks this year.
2. Last week, Blake Battenfield ran his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 17.1. The freshman has been fantastic in the bullpen this season, allowing only five hits with a 16/5 strikeout to walk ratio. I can’t find any info on what the OSU record is for consecutive scoreless innings, but Battenfield has to be approaching it. He already has the fourth-most appearances on the team, and will keep earning them as long as he keeps up this great run of form.
3. Tanner Krietemeier leads the league in home runs, but is hitting .207 this season, barely above the Mendoza Line. I’m not sure if he’s been swinging for the fences more or if he’s just a bit lost at the plate, but the Cowboys would benefit from him picking up a few more hits. As a team, the Pokes are hitting just .258 but lead the league with 16 homers. So it’s not just TK, but his stats are the most glaring.