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Rounding Third: OSU has won nine in a row

If I had to pick a way for the regular season to come to a close, needing to beat your archrival to win the conference title on the last weekend would be a good way to do it.

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Record: 38-13 overall, 16-5 Big 12 (1st)
Streak: Won 9

It was another three-game sweep for the Pokes as the offense ran wild. With one week left and OSU in sole possession of first place in the Big 12, here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:

Bats At It Again As Cowboys Run Streak To Nine

Simply put, this is the best OSU’s offense has looked all season. The Cowboys amassed 31 runs and 37 hits against the preseason Big 12 favorite Kansas State, including six home runs.

The party started Friday night with Jon Perrin on the mound. The junior got eight runs of support – including Tim Arakawa’s fourth homer of the year – but didn’t need any of it. Perrin threw a shutout, striking out a career-high 10 Wildcats in the process.

Saturday was more of the same, with solo homers from Zach Fish and Conor Costello. Dustin Williams added a two-run shot as well, and Brendan McCurry got a strikeout with the bases loaded to get his 15th save of the season in a 6-4 win.

This team is also taking Orange Crush Sunday to heart, as for the second week in a row, they scored double-digit runs on Sunday. The Cowboys had 17 hits, including the second home run of the weekend for both Fish and Williams. This one was called at 17-5 after seven innings, giving OSU its first conference run rule win since 2009.

Last Week’s Results

Friday: No. 7 OSU 8, Kansas State 0
Winning Pitcher: Jon Perrin (6-3)
Perrin: CG, 0 R, 4 H, 10 K
Green: 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R, SB
Arakawa: 2-3, HR (4), 2 RBI, SB

Saturday: No. 7 OSU 6, Kansas State 4
Winning Pitcher: Vince Wheeland (7-0)
Save: Brendan McCurry (15)
Fish: 2-3, solo HR (9), 2 BB
Costello: 2-5, solo HR (4)
D. Williams: 1-3, HR (2), 2 RBI

Sunday: No. 7 OSU 17, Kansas State 5 (7 innings)
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Nurdin (4-3)
OSU: 17 hits
Krietemeier: 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI
D. Williams: 2-4, 2B, HR (3), 3 R, 3 RBI
Fish: 3-5, HR (10), 2 R, 5 RBI 

In The Polls (As of May 6)

NCBWA: 7th (9th last week)
ESPN Power Rankings: 8th (8th last week)
USA Today: 9th (10th last week)
Collegiate Baseball: 9th (12th last week)
Baseball America: 13th (18th last week)
RPI: 27th (40th last week)

Offensive Player of the Week

Zach Fish, Jr. RF & Dustin Williams, Fr. DH

Both of these guys crushed the ball this past weekend. Fish was 6-12 (.500) with five runs, seven RBIs and two home runs, taking the team lead back from Krietemeier. Williams was 3-7 (.429) with two home runs of his own, along with a double, four runs and five RBIs. Honestly, the entire team could have got this award, but these two stood out above the rest.

Pitcher of the Week

Jon Perrin, Jr. RHP

Not to be outdone by the offense, Perrin pitched an outstanding game Friday night. He threw his second shutout of the year, striking out a career-high 10 in the process. He allowed only one walk and four hits as well. On the year, Perrin is 6-3 with a 1.75 ERA and will be in the running for Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.

Team Stats Leaders

Batting Average: Fish, .330
Runs: Krietemeier, 40
RBIs: Arakawa, Fish & Krietemeier, 38
HR: Fish, 10
SB: Green, 15
Wins: Wheeland, 7
Innings: Perrin, 77.1
ERA: McCurry, 0.47
Strikeouts: Perrin, 68 

Tweets of the Week

I hope it wasn’t an English test.

Some love from a former Cowboy.

OSU hasn’t had a 10-game win streak since 2008.

Hitting .426 with 40 RBIs for Central Arizona College.

To get you in the mood for Bedlam next weekend.

Upcoming Games

OSU will play its final regular-season home game Tuesday against Oral Roberts (29-23), who beat the Cowboys 15-8 three weeks ago. The Golden Eagles will come to Stillwater having won six of their past seven. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Then it’s Bedlam to close out the regular season. This year the Cowboys and Sooners (27-25, 7-14 Big 12) will play one game at OKC’s Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and two games at Tulsa’s ONEOK Field. Game times are 7 p.m. Thursday in OKC and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Tulsa.

Know Your Conference Foe

These two teams have already played two great games, with OSU winning 3-1 in Norman behind homers from Arakawa and Green, and OU winning 12-9 in Stillwater in an epic 18-inning game. The Sooners are 3-11 since then, including being swept by Tech and losing a series against West Virginia, Baylor and TCU. OU travels south to face Dallas Baptist before taking on the Cowboys.

This is a team that struggles at the plate, on the mound and in the field. The lows: next to last in the Big 12 in fielding percentage, team ERA and home runs allowed, along with the third-worst on-base percentage and third-fewest stolen bases. There are a few highs though: OU is second in triples and home runs, and second in strikeouts from the pitchers.

On offense, the player to watch is Mac James (.347, 5 HR, 39 RBIs). OSU’s pitchers have done well to limit him in two games this season, giving him just three hits and an RBI. He’s patient, though – he has 20 walks to just 10 strikeouts this year.

On the mound, starter Adam Choplick (3-4, 5.26 ERA) leads the team in strikeouts. And in the bullpen, closer Ralph Garza, Jr. has struggled this season – he has seven saves compared to three losses and a 6.00 ERA.

If I had to pick a way for the regular season to come to a close, needing to beat your archrival to win the conference title on the last weekend would be a good way to do it.

Three Things To Watch For

1. In the other series that matters this weekend, TCU hosts Baylor. The Pokes can clinch the Big 12 regular-season title by winning two of three against OU. Even if TCU swept Baylor, both teams would be tied atop the standings – and the first tiebreaker is head-to-head.

If you’ll recall, the Cowboys took two of three from the Horned Frogs at the end of March, which started this string of seven straight series wins. OSU is 19-4 since then.

2. Some OSU records that could be broken soon: Donnie Walton needs four sacrifice hits to break his own single-season record from last year, which would also set the career record; and Brendan McCurry is seven appearances shy of the most appearances in a season, which would go along with his saves records he set earlier this year.

3. Selection Monday is two weeks away, and while the Cowboys are all but guaranteed postseason play, regional hosts are still up for grabs. The problem facing OSU is there are seven other teams in the region that could be worthy of hosting. Winning either the regular season or conference tournament titles should make it a lock though. You can check out ESPN’s latest bracketology here.

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