Oklahoma State at Cal Poly Friday, Feb. 17 • 8 p.m. (CST) Saturday, Feb. 18 • 8 p.m. (CST) Sunday, Feb. 19 • 3 p.m. (CST) Baggett Stadium (1,734) San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State opens the 2012 season with a trip to San Luis Obispo, Calif., for a three-game series against Cal Poly. The Cowboys are coming off a season in which they were 35-25, including finishing fourth in the Big 12 Conference standings at 14-12, and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament Nashville Regional. OSU head coach Frank Anderson is entering his ninth season at the helm of the Cowboys and has led the club to 297 wins and six NCAA Tournament appearances in his career. The Cowboys are led by a senior class that includes All-Big 12 performers Jared Womack and Gabe Weidenaar, along with three-year starter Mark Ginther.
About Cal Poly Cal Poly is coming off a season in which the Mustangs finished 27-26, including a third-place showing in the Big West Conference. Six position starters and five pitchers return from the 2011 ballclub. Expected to start on the mound for the Mustangs against OSU are: Fri.: Joey Wagman, Jr., RHP (4-3, save, 3.62 in 2011); Sat.: Matt Imhof, Fr., LHP; Sun.: Kyle Brueggemann, Jr., RHP OSU is 4-0 all time against Cal Poly. The Cowboys swept a three-game series against the Mustangs in Stillwater last season.
Watch, Listen, Follow All OSU baseball games are carried live by Stillwater Radio and will air on KSPI 93.7 FM or 780 AM. Rex Holt, who is in his 30th season with Cowboy baseball (17th as the play-by-play voice), will call the action, with Matt "Chief" Davis providing color commentary. GameTracker live stats can also be accessed via www.okstate.com. The live stats link is available on the OSU baseball page under Schedule.
Home Sweet Home Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has been home to Oklahoma State baseball since 1981, and in those 31 seasons the Cowboys have been nearly unbeatable on their home field. OSU is 788-175 (.818) all time at Reynolds Stadium and has lost more than two consecutive games on their home turf only twice (six in a row in May 2007; three straight in 2010). The Cowboys were 25-7 at home in 2011.
300 Club OSU head coach Frank Anderson is on the verge of becoming the third coach in Cowboy history to reach 300 wins. Gary Ward (953 wins) and Toby Greene (318) are the only two previous OSU coaches to reach that mark. Anderson enters his ninth season at OSU with a career record of 297-183, which includes a 110-102 Big 12 mark. He ranks third on OSU's all-time coaching wins list.
New Faces OSU's 35-man 2012 roster includes 24 newcomers -- 16 junior college transfers, seven high school players and a Division I transfer. The group of newcomers includes JUCO All-Americans Victor Romero and Robbie Rea, as well as outfielder Jarrett Higgins, who set a record with 64 stolen bases in two seasons at San Jacinto JC. A pair of talented freshmen are also expected to make an immediate impact. Prep All-American Zach Fish was a 24th-round pick in last year's MLB Draft by Texas after hitting 47 career home runs, including a Michigan state record 24 as a senior. And Gage Green is a versatile player who can play multiple positions; he hit nearly .500 during his senior season at Rider HS in Wichita Falls, Texas. Arizona State transfer Kyle Ottoson is a four-time MLB Draft pick and will battle for a spot in the weekend starting pitching rotation.
High Marks A pair of Cowboys have been ranked among college baseball's best by Baseball America. Andrew Heaney is listed as the 45th-best overall prospect for the 2012 MLB Draft and the third best-prospect in the Big 12. The southpaw is also rated as the 20th-best player in this year's college baseball junior class. Third baseman Mark Ginther is considered the 16th-best player in this season's senior class and the 13th-best overall prospect in the conference. Sophomore right-hander Jason Hursh, who will miss the 2012 season with an injury, is considered the Big 12's sixth-best prospect for the 2013 MLB Draft.
Seniority Despite the influx of newcomers and youth, OSU has a strong senior class of six proven players. • Third baseman Mark Ginther is a career .300 hitter who has started 148 games for the Cowboys. • Shortstop Hunter Bailey started 59 games at year ago and was one of the Cowboys' top hitters down the stretch. • Catcher Jared Womack and utility player/relief pitcher Gabe Weidenaar were both 2011 All-Big 12 Second Team selections. • Blake Barnes' 23 relief appearances were second-most on the team last season. • Transfer Kyle Ottoson was 3-1 in 15 appearances with Arizona State in 2011.
Aluminum Assault Over the last several seasons, OSU has established itself among the top hitting teams in the Big 12 Conference. In the last seven seasons, OSU has led the Big 12 in home runs five times. During that same span, the Cowboys have twice topped the league in batting average and finished second on four occasions. A year ago, the Cowboys hit .292, which ranked second in the conference, and led the league in slugging percentage (.446), doubles (49) and homers (49). Three of OSU's top six hitters from a year ago return in 2011 in seniors Mark Ginther, Jared Womack and Gabe Weidenaar.
Flashing The Leather OSU's defense has turned in some of the top fielding performances in program history in recent seasons. OSU has recorded a fielding percentage over .970 just seven times in its history, and six of those have come in the last seven seasons. The Cowboys made history in 2010 when they set a school record with a .978 fielding percentage, a mark that ranked fifth nationally. From 2008-10, OSU tied or set the school record for fielding percentage every year. The Cowboys had a .974 fielding percentage in 2008 and a .976 fielding percentage in 2009. Both those fielding percentages led the Big 12. In 2011, the Cowboys sported a .974 fielding percentage. They led the Big 12 and ranked third nationally with 73 double plays.
Strong Armed OSU's 2011 pitching staff turned in a 3.79 ERA, the lowest for a Cowboy team since 1974, and that staff also tossed seven shutouts, the most by an OSU group since 1986. In 2012, the Cowboys return six pitchers who were part of a shutout last season, and of the five returners who made at least 10 appearances a year ago, four of them sported an ERA of 3.38 or lower. Among the returners is junior Andrew Heaney, who has led OSU in wins in each of his first two seasons in Stillwater. In senior Gabe Weidenaar and junior Randy McCurry, the Cowboys also return a duo that combined for four of OSU's eight saves a year ago. And McCurry is fourth on the OSU career saves list with 11.
Fixture At The Hot Corner Mark Ginther has started all 115 of OSU's games the last two seasons at third base and returns for his senior season after spurning a professional contract with the Chicago White Sox, who drafted him in the 14th round last June. In 152 career games, Ginther is hitting .305 with 27 home runs and 110 RBIs. With 40 doubles, he needs just seven to crack OSU's all-time top 10 in that statistic. Ginther enters the 2012 season as the Big 12's active career leader in games played (152), at-bats (583), hits (178), triples (7), homers (27), RBIs (110) and total bases (313). As a junior, Ginther was an honorable mention All-Big 12 performer after hitting .292 and ranking second on the Cowboys with 10 home runs.
Slinging Southpaw Junior lefty Andrew Heaney is expected to lead OSU's starting pitching rotation in 2012. Heaney has compiled a 12-8 record in 36 career appearances for the Cowboys, including 19 starts. In 2010, he became the first freshman to lead OSU in wins (with 5) since 2001, and a year ago he was 7-4 on the hill. Over the summer, Heaney was pegged as a top pro prospect in the Cape Cod League after going 4-3 with a 3.38 ERA and racking up 46 strikeouts in 45 innings.
Mr. Versatility Senior Gabe Weidenaar did a little bit of everything for the Cowboys in 2011, and his versatility should pay dividends again this year. A native of Montana, Weidenaar was named to the 2011 All-Big 12 Second Team as a utility player. The switch hitter started 54 games in the outfield and one at first base and hit .280, and he also allowed just one earned run in 15 relief appearances on the mound. As a hurler, he ranked second on the team with three saves while compiling a 0.42 ERA and striking out 18 in 21.2 innings. This season, Weidenaar is expected to challenge for a spot at first base or in the outfield, and he could also be pegged as OSU's closer.
Random Stat To Fill Space During the 2011 season, OSU won seven games in its final at bat, with four of those coming in Big 12 play.
Second Time A Charm Jared Womack played in 12 games as an OSU freshman in 2009 before spending 2010 at Ranger Junior College. He returned to Stillwater for his junior year and had a breakout season for the Cowboys as he earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors as a catcher. Womack started 48 games at catcher in 2011 -- he also had eight starts at DH and three in the outfield -- and hit .282 while ranking second on the club with 46 RBIs. In Big 12 play, Womack led OSU in homers (5), RBIs (22) and doubles (10) and was second with a .321 batting average.
Shot In The Arms OSU's pitching rotation got a boost this season with the addition of left-hander Kyle Ottoson. The senior transferred from Arizona State and can play for the Cowboys in 2012 due to the Sun Devils being ineligible for NCAA postseason play. Ottoson has been drafted in each of the last four MLB Drafts and is coming off a season at ASU in which he was 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA and had 48 strikeouts in 53.1 innings. He had eight-strikeout performances in three of his 15 appearances on the mound.
Randy In The Rotation Randy McCurry is just six saves away from reaching OSU's career record, but he may never get there. The junior righty has made 46 career appearances, 42 of those in relief, but he is a prime candidate for a spot in the Cowboys' starting rotation in 2012. McCurry is now almost two years removed from Tommy John surgery that was required after he suffered a season-ending elbow injury while throwing his warm-up pitches in OSU's 2010 season opener vs. USC. A Tupelo, Okla. native, McCurry sports career numbers of 6-5 with 11 saves and a 2.54 ERA. As a freshman in 2009, McCurry tied OSU's single-season record with 10 saves. In a team-high 28 appearances, he was also 4-1 with a team-best 2.16 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 41.2 innings of work.
Starting Strong OSU is 7-1 all time in season openers under Frank Anderson. The only loss came in 2004 in Anderson's first game as the Cowboys' head coach when they dropped a 5-3 contest to Eastern Michigan in Stillwater.