#22 Oklahoma State (32-20, 13-8) vs. #6 Texas A&M (38-14, 13-8) Thursday, May 17, 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19, 1 p.m. Stillwater, Okla. Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State closes out the regular season this week with a Big 12 Conference showdown against No. 6 Texas A&M at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. The series begins Thursday, with the opener and Friday's contest set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday's finale is at 1 p.m. OSU is 32-20 overall and tied with Texas and Texas A&M for second place in the Big 12 standings with a 13-8 mark, and the Cowboys could finish anywhere from second to fifth in the league depending on this week's final series. Led by Robbie Rea and his .337 batting average, the Cowboys are hitting .272 as a team, while the pitching staff sports a 2.91 ERA. In conference play, OSU is hitting .263 and has 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 329 wins and six NCAA Tournament appearances in his career.
About Texas A&M Texas A&M is 38-14 overall and tied for second in the Big 12 standings with a 13-8 conference mark. The Aggies are hitting .294 and sport a league-best .274 ERA. In Big 12 play, TAMU is hitting .276 with a combined 3.53 ERA. Expected to start on the mound for the Aggies are: Thurs. - RHP Michael Wacha, 8-0, 2.14 Fri. - RHP Ross Stripling, 9-2, 2.36 Sat. - RHP Rafael Pineda, 5-1, 2.51 OSU is 32-29 all time against Texas A&M. Last season, the Aggies swept the Cowboys in a three-game series in College Station, Texas.
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 be accessed via okstate.com (a fee is involved with this service). Video/audio/live stats links are all available on the OSU baseball page under Schedule.
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 812-180 (.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 24-4 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 329-203, which includes a 123-110 Big 12 mark.
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 .980 mark that is the best in the Big 12 and ranks third nationally 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 is second in the Big 12 with a 2.91 ERA and six shutouts, and it leads the league with 445 strikeouts and a .229 batting average by its opponents. The Cowboys are also among top 10 in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings (8.64), hits allowed per nine innings (7.42) and WHIP (1.26). Of the nine pitchers on OSU's staff with at least 10 appearances, eight of them have an ERA of 3.86 or lower, led by Kenton Bevacqua (1.50) and Andrew Heaney (1.59). 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. Heaney added his fourth complete game and third shutout on May 4 against Oklahoma. In that game, he struck out seven and allowed just one walk and three hits. Only two Sooners advanced past first base, and he retired 13-straight batters to end the game. Heaney's three shutouts are one shy of the Big 12 single-season record and are fifth on OSU's career list, two shy of John Farrell.
Slinging Southpaw Junior lefty Andrew Heaney highlights OSU's starting pitching rotation in 2012, and he's having a career year. In his 13 starts this season, Heaney is 8-1 with five complete games (three shutouts) and a 1.59 ERA. Named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List, he ranks second in the NCAA with 120 strikeouts in 102.0 innings and has recorded eight or more strikeouts in 10 of his 13 appearances. Heaney has compiled a 20-9 record in 49 career appearances for the Cowboys, including 32 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.
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 204 career games, Ginther is hitting .295 with 31 home runs, 136 RBIs and a .500 slugging percentage. His 50 doubles are tied for eighth 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.
Two-Way Talent Randy McCurry has emerged as a force at the plate as well as the mound. On April 22, the junior served as the Cowboys' starting pitcher and DH vs. Texas Tech and delivered a double in his first at bat of the year. He's remained in the DH role over the last 14 games and is 16-for-49 with a home run and eight RBIs. He's also 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA in 13 pitching appearances.. McCurry is two years removed from Tommy John surgery after he suffered a season-ending elbow injury in OSU's 2010 season opener. As a freshman in 2009, he tied OSU's single-season record with 10 saves. In a team-high 28 appearances, he was also 4-1 with a team-best 2.16 ERA and 54 Ks in 41.2 innings. Thievery Last season, no Cowboy finished with more than six stolen bases. In 35 games this year, Jarrett Higgins has 17 steals (on 22 attempts). And with 37 steals, OSU has already surpassed its 2011 season total of 29.
Record-Setting Rea JUCO transfer Robbie Rea has been OSU's most consistent hitter this season, with 21 multi-hit games and five multi-RBI efforts. 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 shy of the OSU and Big 12 marks. Rea is hitting .337 and is among the Big 12 leaders in hits (67), home runs (5), doubles (17) and total bases (99).
The Century MarK With 120 strikeouts, Andrew Heaney is the first OSU pitcher to reach 100 Ks in a season since Matt Smith racked up 114 in 2000. His 120 Ks are tied with Jason Bell for the seventh most in a single season in OSU history.
Mowing 'Em Down Chase Stevens has been one of OSU's most impressive pitchers in 2012. In 20 appearances, Stevens is 7-4 with a 2.87 ERA and has racked up 81 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. A right-hander who came to OSU from Seminole State JC, he is among the NCAA leaders in strikeouts per nine innings (11.63), and opponents are hitting just .203 against him, which ranks third 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 with 13 Ks in five innings of relief vs. Bowling Green, including a stretch in which he struck out 10 in a row.
Stepping In, Stepping Up When starting center fielder Jarrett Higgins went down with an injury against Kansas State on April 29, Saulyer Saxon came off the bench and went 3-for-4 to help fuel an OSU sweep. Saxon has started nine-straight games in center since and is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with four RBIs, four stolen bases and four runs. He is OSU's second-leading hitter during the stretch and leads the team in total bases (15).
Barnes Baffling Big 12 Blake Barnes has made a team-high 23 appearances this season and has become a stopper out of the bullpen in Big 12 play. A senior right-hander, Barnes has pitched in 11 of the Cowboys' 21 conference games and is 4-1 with two saves and a 0.95 ERA. He has 24 strikeouts in 28.1 innings, and league opponents are hitting just .210 against him. Overall, Barnes is 5-3 with three saves and a 2.74 ERA.
Short Hops OSU has recorded 89 two-out RBIs on the season; its opponents have 65 ... the Cowboys are 14-8 in games decided by one or two runs this season ... OSU is hitting .278 with runners in scoring position; their opponents .245 ... OSU entered the week No. 79 in the official NCAA RPI Rankings, which was released on May 15.