Oklahoma State (4-2) vs. UMass (0-0) March 12-14 Stillwater, Okla. Allie P. Reynolds Stadium Fri. 4 p.m./Sat. 1 p.m. (DH)/Sun. 1 p.m.
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State is 4-2 on the season after winning two of its three games at the Dairy Queen Classic last weekend in Minneapolis. The Cowboys opened with wins over Northwestern and tourney-host Minnesota before dropping their final game to Loyola Marymount. A pair of Cowboys -- third baseman Mark Ginther and outfielder Luis Uribe -- were named to the Dairy Queen Classic All-Tournament Team. The Cowboys return to action Friday when they open a four-game series against Massachusetts at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. The Minutemen have not yet played this season. OSU head coach Frank Anderson is in his seventh season at the helm of the Cowboys and has led the club to 237 wins in his career. The Pokes are coming off a season in which they finished 34-24 and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Clemson Regional. With that showing, OSU became the only Big 12 Conference team to advance to a Regional championship round each of the last four seasons. OSU returned five position starters from a year ago, including three players who batted over .300, and the pitching staff returned a group that accounted for 56 percent of its wins in '09, as well as 14 of its 15 saves.
About UMass The Minutemen finished the 2009 season with a 27-26 record, which included a fourth-place showing in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings with a 16-11 mark. Mike Stone has won over 560 games in his 22 seasons as the UMass head coach.
Up Next For The Cowboys The UMass series begins a stretch of 12 home games in 13 days for the Cowboys. Also coming to Stillwater during the homestand are Western Illinois, Missouri State, Wright State and Alabama A&M. Following the homestand, OSU will open Big 12 Conference play at Kansas State on March 26.
On The Air & The Web All OSU baseball games are carried live by Stillwater Radio and will air on KSPI 93.7 FM, KGFY 105.5 FM or 780 AM. Rex Holt, who is in his 28th season with Cowboy baseball (15th as the play-by-play voice), will call the action, with Matt "Chief" Davis providing color commentary. Radio broadcasts and live stats can also be accessed via www.okstate.com (links are available under Schedule/Results).
About This Weekend's Opponent UMass will be opening its 2010 season this weekend. A year ago, the Minutemen finished 27-26 and tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings at 16-11. Two-way player Mike Gedman leads UMass. The senior hit .345 with five home runs and 25 RBIs last season and recording five saves and a 2.42 ERA on the mound.
Home Sweet Home Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has been home to Oklahoma State baseball since 1981, and in those 29 seasons the Cowboys have been nearly unbeatable on their home field. The Cowboys are 741-159 (.823) all-time at Reynolds Stadium and have lost more than two consecutive games on their home turf only once (six in a row in May 2007). OSU was 19-9 at home in 2009.
New Faces OSU's 2010 roster includes 17 newcomers, with eight freshmen and eight junior college transfers and one player who is starting his collegiate baseball career as a junior. Four of the Cowboy newcomers were selected in last June's Major League Baseball Draft: Kevin Chambers (47th round by Detroit), Andrew Heaney (24th round by Tampa Bay), Dane Phillips (49th round by Seattle) and Nico Rosthenhausler (50th round by Detroit). Highlighting the freshman class are Heaney, a southpaw hurler who is in the starting weekend rotation, and Chambers, a versatile player who could see time at first base, in the outfield and on the mound. The group of JUCO newcomers includes Rosthenhausler, an offensive star at South Mountain Community College, and Devin Shines, the son of former major leaguer and current assistant coach for the New York Mets Razor Shines.
No Thanks A trio of Cowboys from last season's club was selected in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft but spurned pro ball to return to Stillwater. Tyler Lyons was a 10th-round pick of the New York Yankees, Thomas Keeling was a 20th-round choice of the Yankees and Kevin David was selected in the 35th round by the Chicago Cubs. Eleven players on the OSU roster have been Major League Baseball Draft picks. That marks the second-highest total in the Big 12, trailing only Texas' 13.
Lyons' Share Tyler Lyons has established himself as one of the Big 12's best and most consistent hurlers, and the Cowboys' pitching staff received a huge boost when he decided to return to Stillwater for his senior season. Lyons, who led OSU in wins each of the last two seasons, was a 10th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees last June but spurned a professional career to continue as the ace of the Cowboys' staff. A product of Lubbock, Texas, Lyons enters his final collegiate season with a 19-8 career record, with his 19 wins three shy of moving into the top 10 on OSU's career list. He also sports a 3.83 ERA in 51 appearances. A seven-game winner last season, Lyons was an All-Big 12 Second Team pick in 2008 as a sophomore after compiling a 12-2 mark and 3.31 ERA to go along with 92 strikeouts. In 15 starts, he led the Big 12 with 108.2 innings pitched and tied for the league lead with four complete games. Lyons' 12 wins tied for fourth nationally in 2008. His win total also marked the eighth-most wins in a single season in OSU history, and the most by a Cowboy hurler since 2004. In Big 12 play, Lyons was 7-1 with a 2.99 ERA and four complete games in 12 starts. Lyons earned NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team honors each of the last two years ('08 Stillwater Reg., '09 Clemson Reg).
Big 12's Best Baseball America lists Tom Belza as the best pure hitter in the Big 12 Conference in 2010, and it's easy to see why after his first two seasons in Stillwater. The Cowboy infielder led OSU in hitting each of the last two years and entered '10 with a career .363 batting average in 108 games. Belza burst onto the scene as a freshman, moving into the starting lineup early in the 2008 conference season and quickly proved to be a slick fielder and dependable hitter. A native of Loveland, Ohio, Belza led the Big 12 with a .386 batting average in '08 and collected three or more hits in 10 games, including a 6-for-6, six-run, five-RBI effort against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in March. The six-hit performance tied OSU and Big 12 records, and the six runs also tied the school mark. Named a Freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger, Belza also earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors and was named to the NCAA Stillwater Regional All-Tournament Team. After spending his freshman campaign at second base, Belza spent the majority of his time at shortstop in 2009. Once again, he paced the Cowboys in hitting, this time with a .346 average. Belza ended the '09 season on a 12-game hitting streak and had a memorable performance at the NCAA Clemson Regional, where he was 7-for-14 with four homers and nine RBIs in four games and earned All-Tournament Team honors. Included in that performance was an opening round game against Alabama that saw him tie a school record with three home runs. Belza was a prep star at Cincinnati's famed Moeller High, which produced the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Larkin.
Season Over For The Closer Oklahoma State's record-setting closer saw his 2010 season come to an end before it even began. After coming out of the bullpen in OSU's season opener at USC, sophomore Randy McCurry suffered a season-ending elbow injury while throwing his warm-up pitches. McCurry is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery later this month. OSU has a long tradition of players from small-town Oklahoma blossoming into collegiate stars, and McCurry continued that trend. A native of Tupelo, Okla., which has a population of approximately 360, McCurry blossomed into one of the nation's top closers in his first collegiate season. With 10 saves in 2009, McCurry tied OSU's single-season record, which had been reached only twice previously (in 1982 and 1997). The 10-save total ranks fifth on OSU's career list. In a team-high 28 appearances a year ago, McCurry was 4-1 with a team-best 2.16 ERA in 41.2 innings of work. He also racked up 54 strikeouts. In limited action at the plate, McCurry hit .355 with three home runs and 10 RBIs.
Triple Threat Several Cowboys have gotten off to hot starts at the plate in 2010. Sophomore third baseman Mark Ginther is hitting .368 and is second on the club with seven RBIs. He was named to the Dairy Queen Classic All-Tournament team after going 5-for-11 (.455) with five RBIs and a 1.091 slugging percentage. Newcomers Nico Rosthenhausler and Luis Uribe have also been productive. Rosthenhausler is hitting .381 and leads OSU with eight RBIs, which includes driving in the winning runs with a ninth-inning hit vs. Northwestern. Uribe's .412 average leads the Cowboys. A strong performance in Minnesota, where he was 5-for-11 (.455) with a homer and four RBIs, also earned him a spot on the DQ Classic All-Tournament Team.
The Thief Junior second baseman Davis Duren has eight stolen bases through OSU's first six games. Against Oklahoma Christian, Duren swiped four bags, the most by a Cowboy since 2004 and one shy of the school's single-game record. Last season, Duren was 14-of-15 on stolen base attempts to lead the Cowboys.