Oklahoma State (17-14, 4-5) at #23 Texas (18-12, 7-2) Friday, April 13, 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15, 2:30 p.m. Austin, Texas UFCU Disch-Falk Field (6,649)
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State puts its three-game winning streak on the line this weekend in Austin, Texas, as the Cowboys take on No. 23 Texas in a Big 12 Conference showdown. OSU is 17-14 overall and in fourth place in the league standings with a 4-5 mark after sweeping Kansas last weekend in Stillwater. Led by .300 hitters Robbie Rea and Mark Ginther, the Cowboys are hitting .272 as a team, while the pitching staff sports a 3.29 ERA. In Big 12 play, OSU owns a .252 batting average and a 3.60 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 led the club to 314 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 four-year starter Mark Ginther.
About Texas Texas is 18-12 overall and tied for second in the Big 12 standings with a 7-2 league mark. The Longhorns are hitting .281, while their pitching staff sports a 3.65 ERA. In conference games, UT is hitting at a league-high .333 clip and has a 3.91 ERA. Expected to start on the mound for Texas this weekend are: Fri. - RHP Nathan Thornhill, 4-2, 3.81 Sat. - RHP Parker French, 3-1, 3.92 Sun. - RHP Ricky Jacquez, 2-1, 6.09 OSU is 27-51 all time against Texas. Last season, the Cowboys split four games against the Longhorns, winning two of the three games in Stillwater and losing the matchup at the Big 12 Baseball Championship in Oklahoma City.
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. Each game of the Texas series will also be televised live on the Longhorn Network.
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 803-179 (.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 are 15-3 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 314-194, which includes a 114-107 Big 12 mark.
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 includes JUCO All-Americans Victor Romero and Robbie Rea, as well as Jarrett Higgins, who had a record 64 stolen bases in two seasons at San Jacinto JC. A talented freshman class includes high school All-American Zach Fish, a 24th-round pick in last year's MLB Draft after hitting 47 home runs as a prep, and Gage Green, a versatile player who can play multiple positions and was a prep star in Texas. Arizona State transfer Kyle Ottoson is a four-time MLB Draft pick who is currently in the Cowboys' 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 started 148 games for the Cowboys in his first three seasons. 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 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, and six of those have come in the last seven years. And the Cowboys are on pace to do it again with a .976 mark that is tied for second in the Big 12 this season. 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 led the Big 12 in that category in 2008 and 2009. In 2011, the Cowboys sported a .974 fielding percentage; they also 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 3.29 ERA, and the Cowboys lead the league with 281 strikeouts and four shutouts. They also lead the NCAA with 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Of the eight pitchers on the Cowboys' staff with at least seven appearances this season, six of those have an ERA of 3.71 or lower, and three of those have an ERA of 2.95 or lower. 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.
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. In those three games, the lefty was 3-0 with 0.67 ERA and 34 strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
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 183 career games, Ginther is hitting .306 with 31 home runs, 123 RBIs and a .528 slugging percentage. His 47 doubles are tied for 10th all time at OSU. 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 eight starts this season, Heaney is 5-1 with three complete games (two shutouts) and a 2.31 ERA. Named a midseason All-American by Baseball America, he has racked up 76 strikeouts in 58.1 innings and has set or tied career highs in strikeouts in four of his eight outings, with his 13 Ks vs. Alabama A&M and Missouri his current best. Heaney has compiled a 17-9 record in 44 career appearances for the Cowboys, including 27 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 is paying 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 has played in the outfield and at first base and has made four appearances on the mound.
Record-Setting Rea JUCO transfer Robbie Rea has been one of OSU's most consistent hitters this season, with 10 multi-hit games and four 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 .312 and is among the Big 12 leaders in hits (39), homers (4), doubles (10) and total bases (61).
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. In seven starts this season, Ottoson has maintained a 2.95 ERA. He has worked a least seven innings in each of his last four starts, three of those in Big 12 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.
Thievery Last season, no OSU player finished with more than six stolen bases. In 23 games this year, junior Jarrett Higgins already has 14 steals (on 17 attempts). And with 22 steals, the Cowboys are only seven away from their 2011 season total.
Mowing 'Em Down Chase Stevens has been one of the Cowboys' most impressive newcomers on the mound in 2012. In 11 appearances, Stevens is 3-3 with a 3.71 ERA and has racked up 50 strikeouts in 34.0 innings. A right-hander who came to OSU after two years at Seminole State JC, he leads the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (13.24), and opponents are hitting just .177 against him, which ranks second in the Big 12. In his first career start, against Dallas Baptist, he struck out 10 in seven innings for the win and followed that by racking up 13 Ks in five innings of relief against Bowling Green State, including a stretch in which he struck out 10-straight Falcons.
Fab Frosh Zach Fish's first hit as a Cowboy was a grand slam vs. Dallas Baptist, and the freshman from Michigan has continued to provide power in the OSU lineup as he is among the team leaders in home runs (4), doubles (8), slugging percentage (.458), RBIs (21) and total bases (49). Spending time in right field and as the Cowboys' DH, Fish had a 14-game hitting streak earlier this season, the third longest in the Big 12 in 2012. He ranks in the top 10 in the conference in homers. Fellow freshman Wes Jones has started 26 games at first base and is hitting .276 while ranking fourth on the Pokes with 14 RBIs.
Short Hops Robbie Rea is OSU's leading hitter in Big 12 Conference play with a .306 average, while Jarrett Higgins and Jared Womack share the team lead with six RBIs apiece vs. league foes ... Blake Barnes has pitched in five of the Cowboys' nine Big 12 games and is 1-1 with a save and a 1.50 ERA ... OSU has recorded 45 two-out RBIs on the season ... the Cowboys are hitting .261 with runners in scoring position ... Wes Jones is 10-for-28 (.357) with runners in scoring position.