Oklahoma State gave up just three hits and one run in Tuesday night’s win over Oklahoma.
Just one of those hits came in four innings of work from the Cowboys’ bullpen.
It’s been a familiar spot for OSU this season.
Cowboys relievers have allowed just 29 earned runs in 141 2/3 innings for an ERA of 1.84.
Two of the big pieces of that bullpen have been freshman Blake Battenfield and senior closer Brendan McCurry.
Battenfield, a Verdigris product, has yet to allow a run — earned or unearned — in 23 1/3 innings.
“He’s done an outstanding job,” Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said. “He’s been very poised from start to finish and continues to come in and shorten ballgames up by giving us one or two quality innings out of the bullpen each time out.”
McCurry, the Cowboys’ closer from Tupelo, has allowed just one earned run while striking out 24 in nine innings. He has five saves.
Senior Vince Wheeland has also been stellar, with a 1.17 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. All but one of his 13 appearances have come from the bullpen.
Opponents are hitting just .192 against OSU’s relievers.
Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech this weekend.
‘SHAVE FOR THE BRAVE’
The Sooners held their “Shave for the Brave” event following practice on Thursday, with Oklahoma players and coaches shaving their heads as part of a fundraising and awareness-building effort benefitting the Vs. Cancer Foundation.
OU raised more than $22,000. The money will be split between the foundation and OU Children’s Hospital.
KEEPING IT CLOSE
That Cowboys bullpen has helped OSU be excellent in one-run games this season and allowed them plenty of opportunities to come back.
Oklahoma State is 7-0 in one-run games and 10-3 in games decided by two runs or less.
“There is no pressure,” Battenfield said of close games. “We’ve put so much work into this and we know we can throw any pitcher at any time. There’s really not a lot of pressure. As long as we put the work in, we know we can get the job done.”
The Cowboys have also come back to win 12 times in 20 wins so far this season.
Last year, OSU had 18 come-from-behind wins.
SHORTENING IT UP
Before the season, Oklahoma hitters talked about their changed approach with two strikes, designed to cut down on strikeouts.
It’s certainly worked so far as the Sooners have struck out just 4.63 times per nine innings, second-best in the Big 12 behind Kansas.
Mac James, the conference’s leading hitter with a .400 average, has struck out just three times in 105 at-bats. His strikeout ratio is seventh-lowest in the nation.
Oklahoma takes a break from Big 12 play this weekend with a three-game series against Cal State Bakersfield as the Sooners host “Little League Weekend.”
Friday, fans can play catch under the lights after the game. Saturday, the freshmen will sign autographs after the game. Sunday, kids can run the bases.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Texas snapped a streak of 12 consecutive Big 12 series losses dating back to 2012 by taking two of three last weekend. The Longhorns host Baylor this weekend. … Kansas State’s Ross Kivett hit for the cycle in a win over Nebraska last week. Kivett’s cycle was the 15th cycle in Big 12 history and the first for KSU since 1997. Kivett had a 13-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday. … Texas Tech’s Adam Kirsch leads the Big 12 with 15 doubles, four more than the next-highest total. … TCU’s Brandon Finnegan has 73 strikeouts to lead the league. Finnegan has struck out 12.97 batters per nine innings.