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Rounding Third: Pokes sweep WVU

OSU is starting to get hot as we head closer towards the postseason.

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Record: 26-10 overall, 8-4 Big 12 (2nd)

Streak: Won 5

An undefeated week and this team is on a roll. Here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:

OSU Starts Week With Exciting Game Against Arkansas-Little Rock

This one was a little more exciting than it should have been. The teams traded punches in the first three innings, but OSU got the upper hand. Freshman Garrett Williams struck out 10 hitters in his six innings of work, and Donnie Walton went 3-for-3, hitting his second home run of the season. Brendan McCurry pitched a two-inning save as the Cowboys held on to win, 7-6.

Perrin Dominates On The Mound As Cowboys Blank WVU

This one was a great pitchers duel, as the Cowboys faced one of the best in the conference in WVU’s Harrison Musgrave. The pitchers combined to allow only six hits through the first six innings, but it was the Cowboys who struck first. Some small ball and a West Virginia error allowed Aaron Cornell to come across the plate first, and that’s all the OSU pitching staff would need.

Perrin pitched 6.1 innings of shutout five-hit ball, and Vince Wheeland and McCurry combined to finish off the game. OSU added four runs in the 8th and one more in the 9th (you know, for insurance) giving it the 6-0 win.

OSU Pounds 13 Hits In Lopsided Victory over Mountaineers

The Pokes actually left this one for late, as the teams were tied at one heading into the 8th. But the offense exploded in the 8th and 9th, putting up four runs in each frame. Tanner Krietemeier went 5-for-6 and Walton added three RBIs as OSU won 9-2. Blake Battenfield pitched 4.1 innings of relief, getting his first career victory. The win gives the Cowboys their third straight Big 12 series win.

Pokes Sweep West Virginia, Push Win Streak To Five

OSU wasted no time getting on the board Sunday, scoring four runs in the first inning. However, the Pokes were up just one before Tim Arakawa hit an RBI double in the 5th, giving the pitching staff some breathing room. The Cowboys added two in the 8th, giving them the 7-4 win and sweep of West Virginia. Wheeland pitched 6.1 innings in relief, getting his third win of the season, and McCurry got his ninth save of the season, tying him with Jordy Mercer on OSU’s career saves list (more on this later).

Last Week’s Results

Tuesday: No. 18 OSU 7, Arkansas-Little Rock 6

Winning Pitcher: Garrett Williams (3-0)
Save: Brendan McCurry (8)
Williams: 6 IP, 4 R (2 ER), 5 H, 10 K
Walton: 3-3, HR (2), 2 R, 2 BB
Krietemeier: 2 BB, 2 R

Friday: No. 18 OSU 6, West Virginia 0

Winning Pitcher: Jon Perrin (4-2)
Perrin: 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 4 K
Arakawa: 1-4, R, 2 RBI
McConaughy: 1-3, 2 RBI

Saturday: No. 18 OSU 9, West Virginia 2

Winning Pitcher: Blake Battenfield (1-0)
Battenfield: 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 H (First career win)
Walton: 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R
Krietemeier: 5-6, R, RBI, SB

Sunday: No. 18 OSU 7, West Virginia 4

Winning Pitcher: Vince Wheeland (3-0)
Save: Brendan McCurry (9)
Wheeland: 6.1 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 6 H
Fish: 2-4, 4 RBI, BB
Krietemeier: 3-5, 2 R (Had a hit in 8 straight at-bats) 

In The Polls (As of April 7)

ESPN Power Rankings: 15th (Unranked last week)

NCBWA: 18th (20th last week)

USA Today: 19th (23rd last week)

RPI: 118th[1. As we move closer to postseason play, I’ve included a few more rankings. For perspective, OSU got an at-large bid last season with an RPI ranking of 52.] (150th last week)

Collegiate Baseball: Unranked (Unranked last week)

Baseball America: Unranked (Unranked all season)

Offensive Player of the Week

Donnie Walton, Soph. SS

Walton did a little bit of everything this week. He hit 7-17 (.412) with two doubles and his second home run of the season. He also added four runs, four RBIs and four walks, and now leads the team in doubles.

Pitcher of the Week

Jon Perrin, Jr. RHP

Perrin had one of the better games any OSU starter has had this season. He pitched the opener of the West Virginia series, going 6.1 innings and allowing no runs and five hits. Over his past three starts, he is 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. He’s really starting to hit his stride in that Friday night role.

Team Stats Leaders 

Batting Average: Green, .313
Runs: Krietemeier, 28
RBIs: Fish, 25
HR: Krietemeier, 6
SB: Green, 13
Wins: McCurry, 5
Innings: Perrin, 50.2
ERA: McCurry, 0.34
Strikeouts: Perrin, 46 

Tweets of the Week

 I’m more of a Candy Crush guy myself.

A very good sweep for the Cowboys.

Could break the record Tuesday against OU.

It’s nice to see Jordy being a good sport about this.

Need any more reason to be at Allie P. on Tuesday?

Upcoming Games

The Cowboys play host for the second non-conference Bedlam game of the year when OU (23-14) visits Allie P. on Tuesday. The Sooners come in on a four-game losing streak after being swept at home by Texas last weekend. OSU won the first game in Norman two weeks ago, 3-1.

The Pokes will stay in Stillwater this weekend, hosting Kansas (22-15, 6-6 Big 12) for a three-game conference series. First pitch is 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. The Sunday game is scheduled to be on Fox Sports 1 if you can’t make it to the stadium.

Know Your Conference Foe

This weekend it’s the Kansas Jayhawks, who are neither as good as their basketball team nor as bad as their football team. KU comes in 5-5 in its past 10 games, and are just 13-15 since winning its first nine games of the season. However, the Jayhawks do have series wins against Texas (in Austin!) and Kansas State. They play two games against Grand Canyon University before heading down I-35.

KU has one of the better offensive teams in the Big 12. As a team they hit .289/.370/.395 and have the second-fewest strikeouts in the conference. They have struggled in their past 10 games though, averaging just 3.4 runs per game in that stretch. The guy to watch out for is Connor McKay, who has a slash line of .328/.389/.611 and leads the conference with nine home runs and 38 RBIs.

However, when the offense isn’t hitting, KU is struggling. The ‘Hawks are 2-7 when scoring 1-3 runs, and that’s because this pitching staff isn’t very good. They have a 3.53 ERA and allow opponents to hit .259 against them, which is second-worst in the conference. They do have a pair of good starters in Frank Duncan (4-1, 1.53 ERA, 56 K) and Wes Benjamin (4-0, 4.22 ERA, 31 K), but the bullpen is lacking.

The formula for OSU’s hitters will be the same as last weekend: be patient at the plate, drive up pitch counts and get to the bullpen. That shouldn’t be a problem for the Cowboys, seeing as they are sixth in the nation in walks this season.[1. OSU has really gotten a lot of walks the past few weeks, which coincides with me writing about it the past few weeks. Which makes me wonder how many OSU baseball players actually read this. I also wonder if Kyle ever wonders how many OSU athletes read his posts. Kyle here: A lot do.]

This is another big week for OSU, because these guys can’t be looking ahead to UT. As long as the Cowboys are focused on the task at hand, we could be looking at a top-15 matchup next weekend in Austin. But that requires no speed bumps this week.

Three Things To Watch For 

1. I know the trip to Austin is still two weeks away, but the Longhorns scare me. They just went into Norman and swept a very good OU team, and will possibly be a top-5 team before the Cowboys head down there. It will be the biggest challenge for this team this season, but the good news is…

2. …win the series and the RPI number will get a lot better. Currently, the Cowboys are outside the top 100 in RPI, and much like in basketball, you want that number to be closer to 0 than 100. However, the RPI formula favors road wins, especially against top teams. So if OSU can get a win or two (or three!) against the Longhorns in Austin, a postseason bid would practically be a lock.

3. With his two saves this week, Brendan McCurry is now tied with Jordy Mercer for most career saves at OSU. Not only will his next save break that record, but it will also tie him with his brother Randy for most saves in a season. Both of these records will likely be topped this week, or next week at the latest. So not only do we get to watch one of the top teams in the nation play, but we will get to see a little bit of OSU history in the process.

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