Bedlam baseball: Pitchers have become the feature acts

The lasting images of Bedlam baseball almost all involve booming bats, with players like Pete Incaviglia, Robin Ventura, Damon Minor. That's not the case anymore.
by John Helsley Published: May 3, 2012
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“It's a highly anticipated pitching matchup,” said OU's John, a 28th round pick of the Astros a year ago who has only improved his draft stock. “I looked at Heaney's stats, he's having a really good year. But Oklahoma's always up for the challenge.

“It's a huge honor for me. It's giving me goose bumps right now. I can't wait for the opportunity and to show everybody what I can do.”

John, also with three complete games, ranks second in the Big 12 with eight wins and is fifth in strikeouts (76) and sixth in ERA (2.36). He's gone at least seven innings in all six of his starts since moving out of the bullpen and has allowed but one earned run in each of his last two starts, both complete game victories.

“I don't really know a lot of guys on their team, but I know they can pitch,” Heaney said. “I know they've got some lefties that are good and obviously they've got a couple of righties who can run it up pretty high on the radar gun. They can pitch it.”

Like John, Heaney said he's looking forward to the matchup.

“It's going to be fun, pitching in Tulsa, it'll be sold out,” he said. “It's a game you get up for. If you win, it sets the tone early and you feel good about the weekend. You've already got an upper hand. It's a tone-setter.

“We want to let them know how we're going to play all weekend. It's not only setting the tone for the series, but for your own team and your guys.”

Strong pitching extends beyond the aces for both teams.

The Sooners, 26-4 when holding opponents to five runs or less, follow John with Jonathan Gray and Dillon Overton, two starters with a combined nine wins who are capable of fronting a rotation. Then there's the wild card, Damien Magnifico, who can start or relieve and bring consistently bring fastballs at 100 mph.

Cowboys lefty Kyle Ottoson, who pitched in a Super Regional for Arizona State a year ago and has been drafted four times, has already beaten the Sooners once this season and carries a 3.12 ERA. And Vince Wheeland, who has emerged of late, is 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA. Out of the bullpen, relievers Blake Barnes and Chase Stephens have accounted for a combined nine wins and four saves.

Overall, OSU leads the Big 12 and strikeouts (375) and ranks fifth nationally at 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

“We've been pitching it real well this entire season,” Heaney said. “Early on we were struggling hitting, but at this point we've gotten really hot. We're on a little streak and we're feeling pretty good about it. Hopefully, we can keep that going.”


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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Up next for OSU and OU

Cowboys

Tuesday: Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.

May 11: Alcorn State, 6:30 p.m.

May 12: Alcorn State, 2 p.m.

May 13: Alcorn State, 1 p.m.

Sooners

May 11: Baylor, 6:30 p.m.

May 12: Baylor, 2 p.m.

May 13: Baylor, 1 p.m.

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