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Rounding Third: Six straight wins for OSU

OSU sweeps Arizona State and winds down this weekend in Manhattan.



Record: 35-13 overall, 13-5 Big 12 (T-1st)
Streak: Won 6

The Pokes had another perfect week, including a sweep of nationally ranked Arizona State. With the postseason just a few weeks away, here’s what you missed with Cowboy Baseball last week:

Offense In Full Swing In 4-0 Week

After a midweek 3-0 win at Wichita State, OSU hosted No. 26 Arizona State and swept them in thrilling fashion. All three games saw at least two lead changes, and the teams combined for 50 runs and 72 hits – including seven homers.

The Pokes won 8-5 Friday thanks to some timely hitting from Tanner Krietemeier and Tim Arakawa, who were the stars of the weekend. Saturday’s hero was Donnie Walton, whose bases-loaded single in the 11th was the difference for the Cowboys in a 6-5 win. It was also Senior Day, as eight Cowboys were honored with a framed jersey before the game.

Sunday provided the best fireworks though. If you didn’t know better, you might have said a football game took place instead. There wasn’t a scoreless inning until the 9th, where the Cowboys found themselves up 14-12 with closer Brendan McCurry on the mound. He got his 14th save of the season as OSU won a sixth straight game and sixth straight weekend series.

Last Week’s Results

Wednesday: No. 9 OSU 3, Wichita State 0

Winning Pitcher: Tyler Nurdin (3-3)
Save: Garrett Williams (2)
Nurdin: 5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 3 K
Fish: 3-5, 2 R
Arakawa: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI

Friday: No. 9 OSU 8, No. 26 Arizona State 5

Winning Pitcher: Alex Hackerott (3-1)
Save: Brendan McCurry (13)
Krietemeier: 3-3, 2 2B, 2 R
Green: 2-5, solo HR (3)
Arakawa: 1-2, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI

Saturday: No. 9 OSU 6, No. 26 Arizona State 5 (11 innings)

Winning Pitcher: Vince Wheeland (6-0)
Wheeland: 4.1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 K
Walton: walk-off RBI single in 11th
Krietemeier: 3-6, HR (8), 2 R, 2 RBI
Arakawa: 4-6, 2 RBI; game-tying 1B in 9th

Sunday: No. 9 OSU 14, No. 26 Arizona State 12

Winning Pitcher: Mark Robinette (2-2)
Save: Brendan McCurry (14)
Case: 3-4, 2B, HR (1), 4 R, SB
Krietemeier: 3-3, 2B, HR (9), 2 R, 3 RBI
Arakawa: 2-3, R, RBI, SB
Green: 3-4, 3 RBI 

In The Polls (As of April 29)

ESPN Power Rankings: 8th (11th last week)
NCBWA: 9th (9th last week)
USA Today: 10th (15th last week)
Collegiate Baseball: 12th (14th last week)
Baseball America: 18th (21st last week)
RPI: 40th (53rd last week)

Offensive Player of the Week

Tanner Krietemeier, Sr. 1B

The Castle Rock, Colorado native had a stellar week for the Cowboys. He hit 11-17 (.647) with two home runs and three doubles, while adding six runs and six RBIs. His nine home runs lead the team and has him tied for second in the conference.

Pitcher of the Week

Brendan McCurry, Sr. Closer

McCurry finds himself in this spot for the fourth time this season, and rightfully so. This week he picked up two more saves, closing out the first and last game of the ASU series. He gave up only three hits and struck out five in his three innings of scoreless work, and now has 14 saves this season – second in the conference and top five in the country.

Team Stats Leaders

Batting Average: Fish, .319
Runs: Krietemeier, 36
RBIs: Arakawa, 35
HR: Krietemeier, 9
SB: Green, 14
Wins: Wheeland, 6
Innings: Perrin, 68.1
ERA: McCurry, 0.49
Strikeouts: Perrin, 58 

Tweets of the Week 

Shades of Ozzie Smith.

Each senior got one of these, which is pretty cool.

Congrats to all of the seniors.

This was cool to see at Calf Fry.

More on the regional talk in a bit.

Upcoming Games

No midweek game this week because of finals, so the Cowboys are off until they travel to Manhattan, Kansas for their last Big 12 road trip of the season against Kansas State. Game times are Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Know Your Conference Foe

OSU gets back into conference play this weekend when it visits Kansas State (23-25, 4-14 Big 12). The Wildcats were the Big 12 preseason favorite, but have struggled mightily this year. They’ve been swept three times in conference play and are last in the conference in team pitching with a 4.45 ERA. K-State is on a six-game losing streak and plays midweek at Wichita State.

The Wildcats don’t have a problem getting on base – they lead the conference in on-base percentage and stolen bases. Senior Ross Kivett is the team’s leading hitter, with a slash line of .335/.446/.473 and four home runs. He’s also a perfect 19-for-19 in stolen base attempts. There are three other Wildcats hitting over .300, so this offense has the ability to put runs on the board.

The problem is the pitching staff gives up almost as many runs as the offense scores. There should be some great matchups for OSU’s hitters this weekend. K-State is last in the conference in strikeouts, which is one of OSU’s biggest weaknesses. The Wildcats also allow 76 percent of basestealers to reach safely, which is slightly below OSU’s success rate. This should be another big weekend for OSU’s bats.

Three Things To Watch For 

1. It’s hard to find much fault in a week like the Cowboys just had. This might be nitpicking, but OSU had nine errors in the weekend series against the Sun Devils. Those are plays that could make games even easier for the Pokes. As it is, they have given up 44 unearned runs this season – which is already more than last season.

As exciting as Sunday’s back and forth game was, it could have been avoided and been an easy win without the two errors that day. It’s the small things like this that can mean all the difference in a run to Omaha.

2. Again, nitpicking here, but OSU left 35 runners stranded this weekend – including 18 in Saturday’s game. The first three batters of the 10th walked for OSU, leaving the bases loaded with no outs. But the Pokes couldn’t capitalize, with a force out at the plate and two strikeouts.

The game never should have gone to the 11th, and though the Cowboys still won, they could have saved an overworked bullpen from an extra inning. The bullpen is deep, but OSU’s best four relievers this season have made at least 20 appearances each. With so many innings already, there might not be much left in the tank if OSU makes it to the College World Series.

3. After the Arizona State sweep, talk of a Stillwater regional is taking off. Despite the low RPI, the Cowboys are still in a prime spot to host a first regional since 2008. The final two Big 12 series are against the bottom two teams in the league, so a regular-season conference title appears imminent. Combine that with a strong Big 12 tournament, and there should be postseason baseball in Allie P.

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