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OSU baseball starts Big 12 play

by John Helsley Published: March 13, 2008

FROM THE OSU ATHLETICS OFFICE 

#23 Oklahoma State (10-3) at #9 Baylor (11-3)

March 14-16 – 6:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 1 p.m.

Waco, Texas (Baylor Ballpark (5,000))

 Oklahoma State

OSU is 10-3 on the season and opens Big 12 Conference play on the road against Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Friday. The opener, as well as Saturday’s contest, is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start, while Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1 p.m. The Cowboys finished third in the Big 12 last season with a 16-11 mark and have earned a spot among the top three in the final standings each of the last two years. OSU’s second-place finish in 2006 was its highest ever in the league.

Baylor

The Bears are 11-3 on the season and are coming off back-to-back losses at Oral Roberts. Baylor finished sixth in the league last season at 12-15, then advanced to the title game at the Big 12 Baseball Championship.

In the polls

Oklahoma State is ranked 23rd by Baseball America, 25th in the NCBWA poll and 28th by Collegiate Baseball.

Baylor is ranked No. 9 by Collegiate Baseball and in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll, 10th by Baseball America and 12th in the NCBWA poll.

On the air & the web

All OSU baseball games will be carried live by Stillwater Radio on KSPI

93.7 FM and/or 780 AM. Rex Holt, who is in his 26th season as the play-by-play voice of Cowboy baseball, will call the action, with Matt Davis providing color commentary. Radio broadcasts can also be accessed via www.okstate.com (link is available under Cowboy MVP – Live Events). Those wishing to follow today’s game against Missouri State via live stats can log on to www.okstate.com (link is available under Cowboy MVP – Live Stats).About BaylorThe Bears are 11-3 after a pair of mid-week losses to Oral Roberts. BU is hitting .294 as a team, while its pitching staff sports a collective 4.24 ERA.OSU is 30-23 all-time against Baylor, including a 3-1 mark last season.A year ago, the Cowboys swept the series vs. BU in Stillwater but lost to the Bears in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.

Players to watch

* SS Beamer Weems (.213, HR, 7 RBI) * DH Aaron Miller (.418, 4 HR, 11 RBI) * RHP Nick Cassavechia (5 saves, 3.60 ERA)Probable starting pitchersFriday:  Kendal Volz, RHP

3-0, 1.71 ERA in three starts; 21 K in 21 IP

Saturday:  Shawn Tolleson, RHP

1-0, 7.43 ERA in three starts

Sunday:  Willie Kempf, RHP

2-0, 2.60 ERA in three starts

Lots of new faces

The Cowboys’ 2008 roster includes a large and talented group of newcomers, with a recruiting class that counts 18 players.

Eight of the newcomers are junior college transfers, while the class also includes six freshmen and four Division I transfers. Seven of OSU¹s recruits have been selected in the Major League Baseball Draft.

Among the more notable newcomers are transfers third baseman Matt Hague and catcher Luis Flores, both of whom have earned spots in the starting lineup.

Freshman Thomas Belza hit .556 as a senior at Cincinnati¹s Moeller High School to break Ken Griffey Jr.’s school record, while fellow frosh Rafael Thomas has blazing speed and was a high school All-American and MLB Draft pick. Another freshman, Dean Green, is seeing time as the Cowboys¹ designated hitter.

The group of junior college newcomers includes JUCO All-Americans Michael Dabbs, Neil Medchill and Tyrone Hambly.

Strong start

Oklahoma State¹s 6-0 start to open the season was its best since 1995 when the Cowboys won their first 11 games.

Through 13 games, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents 114-65 an average of 8.8 to 5.0 and are averaging 11.2 hits per game.OSU ranks third in the Big 12 in hitting with a .319 batting average, and the pitching staff has a combined 3.96 ERA.

Aluminum assault

Over the last two seasons, the Cowboys have established themselves among the top hitting teams not only in the Big 12 Conference but nationally and it appears that trend could continue in 2008.OSU¹s lineup includes two of the Big 12¹s top three hitters, and the Cowboys lead the league in home runs (20) and slugging percentage (.551), while ranking third in batting average (.319).In ¹06, 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.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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