May 5, 2011
#16 Oklahoma State (30-13)
vs. #8 TCU (31-13)
. . .
May 6-8 Stillwater, Okla.
Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Fri. - 6:30 p.m./Sat. - 2 p.m./Sun. - 1:06 p.m.
Oklahoma State brings a 30-13 record into this weekend's non-conference showdown against No. 8 TCU in a matchup of nationally ranked teams at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, where the Cowboys are 23-3 on the year. Last weekend, the Cowboys won their fifth Big 12 Conference series of the season to move back into third place in the league standings with a 12-8 league mark. OSU has won five of its seven conference series this season, including all three of its series at home.
OSU ranks second in the Big 12 in batting average (.302) and fourth in ERA (3.15). Sophomore designated hitter Dane Phillips leads the offense with a .369 batting average, while senior Brad Propst has compiled a team-high seven wins on the mound.
OSU head coach Frank Anderson is in his eighth season at the helm of the Cowboys and has led the club to 292 wins and five NCAA Tournament appearances in his career. During a four-year span from 2006-09, OSU was the only Big 12 Conference team to advance to an NCAA Regional championship round each season.
TCU is 31-13 on the season and coming off back-to-back wins at BYU. The Horned Frogs sport a .300 batting average and a 2.82 ERA.
Expected to start on the mound for the Horned Frogs this weekend are:
Fri.: Kyle Winkler, Jr., RHP (8-1, 1.25)
Sat.: Erik Miller, Jr., RHP (4-6, 4.53)
Sun.: Steven Maxwell, Sr., RHP (5-0, 2.90)
OSU is 12-6 all time against TCU. The two teams last met in 2008 at the NCAA Regional in Stillwater, a game the Cowboys won 9-8 on a walk-off home run by Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Watch, Listen, Follow
All OSU baseball games are carried live by Stillwater Radio and will air on KSPI 93.7 FM. Rex Holt, who is in his 29th season with Cowboy baseball (16th 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).
Friday and Saturday's games vs. TCU are available to watch online via paid subscription at okstate.tv, while Sunday's contest airs nationwide live on Fox College Sports. FCS can be found on DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and other cable providers.
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 786-171 (.821) 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 23-3 at home in 2011.
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 is in his eighth season at OSU and owns a career record of 292-171, which includes a 108-98 Big 12 mark. He ranks third on OSU's all-time coaching wins list.
Sophomore Dane Phillips has been one of the Big 12's most consistent hitters in 2011, and he ranks among the top four in the league in five offensive categories -- batting average (.369), hits (65), triples (8), total bases (103) and slugging percentage (.585). His eight triples ranks second in the NCAA this season and is one shy of OSU's single-season record.
Spending most of his time at DH but also seeing time at catcher and in the outfield, Phillips hit safely in OSU's first 13 games and has hits in 37 of the Cowboys' 43 games this season. He is second on the club with 18 multi-hit games, including three four-hit efforts.
Phillips reached base safely in the first 30 games this season, extending a streak dating back to last season to 35 games before it was snapped against Missouri on April 9.
Over the last several seasons, OSU has established itself among the top hitting teams in the Big 12 Conference, and that trend is continuing this season.
Along with a .302 batting average that ranks second in the league, the Cowboys lead the conference with 94 doubles and hold down the second spot in hits (452), triples (21) and slugging percentage (.451).
The 2010 club ranked second in the league with a .307 batting average and finished third in doubles (128) and sacrifice flies (31). Five of the Cowboy regulars in the starting lineup hit .316 or better.
In 2009, the Cowboys ranked among the Big 12's best in batting average (third at .300), triples (second with 21), home runs (third with 81) and slugging percentage (second at .503).
OSU led the Big 12 in three offensive categories in 2008 -- batting average (.326), slugging percentage (.531) and home runs (89). The Cowboys finished second in the league in runs, hits, triples and RBIs.
In '06, OSU led the Big 12 in homers, triples and slugging percentage, and in 2007 the Cowboys led the Big 12 in six offensive categories and ranked second in two more.
OSU's pitching staff has allowed just 136 earned runs in 388.0 innings, which translates to a 3.15 team ERA, and the Cowboys are second in the league with six shutouts.
Ten different Cowboy hurlers have notched wins, with eight of those collecting at least two victories.
Want more? OSU's opponents are hitting just .254, and of the 14 Cowboys with at least three appearances, nine of them have an ERA of 3.42 or less.
And while we're at it, go ahead and note that OSU's staff has issued just 114 walks, the second fewest in the Big 12.
Among the leaders on the pitching staff this season are:
Brad Propst - A converted infielder, Propst entered this season with three wins and three saves in 30 career appearances. The senior right-hander has started 11 games in 2011 and is 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA.
Andrew Heaney - A year ago, this lefty became the first freshman to lead OSU in wins since 2001 as he was 5-4 with a save in 16 outings (10 starts). As a sophomore, he's been even better, with five wins, a 3.42 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.
Mike Strong - A two-time MLB Draft pick, Strong is 4-1 with a 3.42 ERA in 11 games this season and has 52 Ks in 52.2 IP.
Chris Marlowe - Marlowe leads the Cowboys with 17 appearances, and this JUCO transfer has been unhittable at times. He has a team-high 63 strikeouts in only 37.0 innings and earned his first-career win by striking out 10 in 4.2 innings of relief work vs. New Mexico, a performance that earned him Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week honors.
Blake Barnes - A junior right-hander Barnes has three wins, all in relief, and a 2.81 ERA in 17 appearances. He has 21 Ks in 32.0 innings of work.
Gabe Weidenaar - A junior who spends most of his time in center field, Weidenaar has also been a star on the mound as he's recorded two saves and has allowed just one earned run in eight appearances. He has 14 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched.
Flashing The Leather
Over the last several seasons, OSU's defense has turned in some of the top fielding performances in program history.
OSU has recorded a fielding percentage over .970 just six times in its history, and five of those have come in the last six seasons.
The Cowboys made history in 2010 when they set a school record with a .978 fielding percentage, a mark that ranked fifth nationally.
Last year's performance marked the third-straight year that OSU had tied or set the school record for fielding percentage after 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 have made 40 errors and sport a .976 fielding percentage.
Brad Propst is having a memorable final season in an OSU uniform.
The senior right-hander has established himself as the ace of the Cowboys' staff with a 7-2 record and a 2.01 ERA in 11 starts.
Propst has pitched at least six innings in eight of his 11 starts, and he ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 76.0 innings pitched.
On March 28, Propst was named Big 12 Pitcher of Week after tossing a complete game against No. 4 Texas in which he allowed just one run on seven hits and struck out six.
Propst is 5-1 with three complete games and a 2.10 ERA in his seven Big 12 starts, and he has recorded 28 strikeouts and just seven walks.
OSU has emerged as one of the nation's top teams in 2011, and the Cowboys continue to add to their resumé.
The Cowboys have four wins against Top 10 teams this season, winning two of their three games in series against No. 4 Texas and No. 8 Oklahoma.
OSU's 30 wins are tied for the third most in the Big 12 this season, and the Cowboys have already surpassed last season's win total. With 12 wins in Big 12 play, the Pokes have already topped their league win totals in each of the past two seasons.
After dropping their first Big 12 series of the year at Kansas, OSU won four-straight series, the first time that had happened since the 2008 Cowboys won six consecutive league series.
It's Been Awhile
In March, OSU became the first team to win a Big 12 series against Texas since 2009, snapping the Longhorns' streak of 11-straight conference series wins.
The Cowboys followed that performance by winning a series against Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since 1997.
Based in large part on those performances, OSU entered the national rankings on April 4 for the first time since the end of 2009 season, debuting at No. 23 in the Baseball America rankings. This week, the Cowboys are ranked as high as 16th by Baseball America.
Mike Strong and Chris Marlowe set an OSU record in the series opener against Texas as the duo combined for 21 strikeouts, the most ever by the Cowboys in a single game and one shy of the Big 12 Conference record.
Strong and Marlowe broke the record set just last season by Kevin Chambers and Brian Denneny, who combined for 20 strikeouts against Alabama A&M.
In the record-setting performance, Strong was the starter and struck out nine in 8.1 innings before Marlowe came out of the bullpen and racked up 12 Ks in 6.2 innings.
The Cowboys are hitting .326 (149-for-457) with runners in scoring position.
OSU has won six games in its final at bat this season.
Nine different position players have made their OSU debuts this season while 10 different pitchers have toed the pitching rubber for the first time as Cowboys.
OSU has turned 56 double plays this season, the most in the Big 12.
Chris Marlowe is averaging 15.32 strikeouts per nine innings.
OSU is 24th in this week's NCAA Baseball RPI Rankings. TCU is 26th.