Oklahoma State (14-14, 1-5) vs. Kansas (12-16, 2-4) Friday, April 6, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 7, 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, 1 p.m. Stillwater, Okla. • Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State hosts its first Big 12 Conference series of the season this weekend at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium when the Cowboys take on Kansas. OSU is 14-14 on the season, which includes a 12-3 mark on its home field, and will be looking to snap a five-game losing streak in league play and improve on their 1-5 conference mark. Led by Mark Ginther's .324 average, the Cowboys are hitting .272 as a team, while the pitching staff sports a 3.32 ERA. With a host of newcomers on the roster, 18 different players have made their OSU baseball debuts in 2012. The Cowboys are coming off a 2011 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 in his ninth season at the helm of the Cowboys and has guided the club to 311 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 Kansas Kansas is 12-16 overall and sits seventh in the Big 12 standings with a 2-4 league mark after winning a pair of games against Texas Tech last weekend in Lawrence. The Jayhawks are hitting .257, while their pitching staff sports a 4.28 ERA. Expected to start on the mound for Kansas this weekend are: Fri. - RHP Frank Duncan, 3-4, 3.33 Sat. - LHP Wes Benjamin, 2-2, 4.03 Sun - RHP Thomas Taylor, 3-3, 3.91 OSU is 128-47 all time against Kansas. Last season, the Cowboys defeated KU in the series opener in Lawrence before dropping the next two games.
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, will call the action, with Matt "Chief" Davis providing color commentary. GameTracker live stats for all games can be found at www.okstate.com. Additionally, live online video and audio for all home games not televised can also be accessed at okstate.com (a fee is involved with this service). Video/audio/live stats links are all available on the OSU baseball page under Schedule. Saturday's game vs. KU will air live on Fox Sports Net with Greg Lucas and Jack Lazorko calling the action.
Home Sweet Home Allie P. Reynolds Stadium has been home to Oklahoma State baseball since 1981, and in those 31-plus seasons the Cowboys have been nearly unbeatable on their home field. OSU is 800-179 (.817) 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 are 12-3 at home in 2012.
300 Club With the Cowboys' series opening win over Bowling Green State, OSU head coach Frank Anderson become just 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. In his ninth season at OSU, Anderson owns a career record of 311-194, which includes a 111-107 Big 12 mark.
Aluminum Assault Over the last decade, OSU has established itself among the top hitting clubs in the Big 12. In the last seven seasons, OSU has led the conference 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. In 2012, the Cowboys lead the Big 12 in homers with 20.
Flashing The Leather OSU has recorded a fielding percentage over .970 just seven times in its history -- 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 pitching staff ranks third in the Big 12 with a 3.32 ERA, and the Cowboys lead the league with 257 strikeouts and four shutouts. They're also among the NCAA leaders with 9.38 strikeouts per nine innings. In 2011, the Cowboys turned in a 3.79 ERA, the lowest for an OSU team since 1974. 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.
Complete-ly Dominant With back-to-back shutouts vs. Alabama A&M (March 9) and Houston (March 16), Andrew Heaney became the first OSU pitcher to record consecutive shutouts since Matt Smith in 1998. He is also the first Cowboy since Tyler Lyons in 2008 to post two-straight complete games. Heaney turned in his third consecutive complete game in a 3-2 win over Missouri.
Fixture At The Hot Corner Mark Ginther started 115 straight games for the Cowboys the last two seasons at third base and is back for his senior season after spurning a professional contract with the Chicago White Sox, who drafted him in the 14th round last June. In 180 career games, Ginther is hitting .308 with 31 home runs, 122 RBIs and a .530 slugging percentage. With 45 doubles, he needs just two to crack OSU's all-time top 10. Ginther entered 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 named honorable mention All-Big 12 after hitting .292 and ranking second on OSU with 10 home runs.
Slinging Southpaw Junior lefty Andrew Heaney highlights OSU's starting pitching rotation in 2012, and he's off to an impressive start. In his seven starts this season, Heaney is 5-1 with three complete games (two shutouts) and a Big 12-leading 1.69 ERA. Named a midseason All-American by Baseball America, he has racked up 69 strikeouts in 53.1 innings and has set or tied career highs in strikeouts in four of his seven outings, with his 13 Ks vs. Alabama A&M and Missouri his current best. Heaney has compiled a 17-9 record in 43 career appearances for the Cowboys, including 26 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 returns to OSU's outfield (primarily in left) and has also served as the Cowboys' closer.
Record-Setting Rea JUCO transfer Robbie Rea has been one of OSU's most consistent hitters this season, with eight multi-hit games and three multi-RBI efforts on his resumé. Rea's brief time in Stillwater was highlighted by a record-setting performance in the first game of a March 10 doubleheader against Alabama A&M. In that contest, the Cowboy second baseman was 5-for-5 at the plate with three home runs, two doubles and nine RBIs. With the three homers, Rea became just the 10th Cowboy in history to homer three times in a game, a feat that has been achieved just 13 times in OSU history and hadn't been done since 2009. Rea's 16 total bases also tied a Big 12 record, and his nine RBIs in the game were one short of the OSU record and also fell one shy of the Big 12 record. Rea is hitting .322 and is among the Big 12 leaders in hits (37), homers (4), doubles (9) and total bases (58).
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.