Oklahoma State (23-17, 8-7) at Kansas State (19-23, 3-12) Friday, April 27, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29, Noon Manhattan, Kan. Tointon Family Stadium (2,331)
Oklahoma State Winners of five-straight games, Oklahoma State returns to Big 12 Conference action this weekend with a trip to Manhattan, Kan., to take on Kansas State. The Cowboys are 23-17 overall and in fourth place in the conference standings with an 8-7 mark after sweeping Texas Tech last weekend. Led by .300 hitters Robbie Rea, Gabe Weidenaar and Trey Whaley, the Cowboys are hitting .270 as a team, while the pitching staff sports a 2.93 ERA. In Big 12 games, OSU is hitting at a .256 clip and owns a 2.82 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 is now the second-winningest coach in program history. He has led the club to 320 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 Kansas State Kansas State, which is in the midst of a five-game losing streak, is 19-23 overall and tied for eighth in the Big 12 standings with a 3-12 mark. The Wildcats are hitting .281 and own a 5.38 ERA. In conference games, K-State is hitting .270 and has a collective 6.89 ERA. OSU is 149-47 all time against Kansas State. Last season, the Cowboys won the first two games of the K-State series in Stillwater before the finale on Sunday was rained out.
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. Friday's series opener vs. K-State will air on Fox College Sports, while Sunday's finale is on ESPNU.
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 808-179 (.819) 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 20-3 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 320-200, which includes a 118-109 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 rank second in the Big 12 with 22 home runs.
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 .978 mark that ranks 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 second in the Big 12 with a 2.93 ERA. The Cowboys lead the league with 351 strikeouts, and they also rank near the top of the NCAA with 8.87 strikeouts per nine innings. Of the eight pitchers on OSU's staff with at least eight appearances, each of them has an ERA of 3.97 or lower, led by Kyle Bagnell (0.00) and Andrew Heaney (2.02). 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 192 career games, Ginther is hitting .299 with 31 home runs, 127 RBIs and a .513 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 having a career year. In his 10 starts this season, Heaney is 5-1 with three complete games (two shutouts) and a 2.02 ERA. Named a midseason All-American by Baseball America, he ranks second in the NCAA with 94 strikeouts in 75.2 innings and has recorded eight or more strikeouts in eight of his 10 appearances. Heaney has compiled a 17-9 record in 46 career appearances for the Cowboys, including 29 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. He is second on the Cowboys with a .314 batting average. Thievery Last season, no Cowboy finished with more than six stolen bases. In 31 games this year, Jarrett Higgins already has 16 steals (on 21 attempts). And with 27 steals, OSU is only two away from their 2011 season total.
Record-Setting Rea JUCO transfer Robbie Rea has been one of OSU's most consistent hitters this season, with 14 multi-hit games and five 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 .321 and is among the Big 12 leaders in home runs (5), doubles (14) and total bases (79).
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 nine starts this season, Ottoson is 3-5 and has maintained a 2.86 ERA. He has worked a least seven innings in five of his last six 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.
The Century MarK With 94 strikeouts, Andrew Heaney is six punchouts shy of becoming the first OSU pitcher to reach 100 Ks in a season since Matt Smith racked up 114 in 2000.
Mowing 'Em Down Chase Stevens has been one of the Cowboys' most impressive newcomers on the mound in 2012. In 14 appearances, Stevens is 4-4 with a 3.19 ERA and has racked up 61 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. A right-hander who came to OSU from Seminole State JC, he ranks third in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (12.97), and opponents are hitting just .182 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.
Short Hops Gabe Weidenaar is OSU's leading hitter in Big 12 Conference play with a .357 average, while Hunter Bailey and Mark Ginther share the team lead with eight RBIs apiece vs. league foes ... Blake Barnes has pitched in eight of the Cowboys' 15 conference games and is 3-1 with a save and a 1.23 ERA ... OSU has recorded 60 two-out RBIs on the season; its opponents have 54 ... the Cowboys are hitting .268 with runners in scoring position; their opponents are at .246.