Coming off of a weekday loss to Oral Roberts, the Cowboys look to bounce back this weekend in a non-conference against the Lamar Cardinals.
Oklahoma State Cowboys (23-19, 15-9 Home) vs. Lamar Cardinals (26-20, 6-14 Away)
Where: Allie P. Reynolds Stadium
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday | 3 p.m. Saturday | 1 p.m. Sunday
At the plate, the Cardinals are led by outfielder Cutter McDowell who has a slash line of .367/.474/.559 with four home runs and 31 RBI's. As a team, they are slashing .287/.380/.429. Trey Silvers leads the team with nine home runs, the team as a whole has 43 home runs, so there is power in the Cardinals’ lineup. With the power, there a lot of strikeouts; the Cardinals have a team total of 286 on the season.
On the mound, Nathan Gabryszwski (good luck pronouncing that) leads the team in ERA with 2.70. Brett Brown leads the team in strikeouts with 61, but also leads the team in walks allowed with 31. The pitching staff has allowed .255 batting average against. With a team ERA of 4.12, they will give up some runs. They do a good job of not giving up the long ball though, only allowing 15 home runs all season.
RHP Carson Lance is scheduled to take the ball on Friday night. Lance is 6-5 on the season with a 3.28 ERA. He has given up 32 runs on the season, but only 25 are earned. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 61:32, and he has not allowed a home run to be hit off of him yet this season. Opponents are hitting only .190 off the junior, and he has eaten 68.2 innings this season - the most on the staff.
The Cardinals will send another RHP to the mound on Saturday, senior Jimmy Johnson. Johnson is 5-4 on the season with a 4.02 ERA. He makes the majority of his appearances from the bullpen, so expect a pitcher-by-committee Saturday afternoon. Johnson had allowed 26 runs to cross the plate, and only has been unearned. His K:BB ratio is 46:15, and he leads the team in strikeouts. Sunday’s starter is still TBA.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
We are starting to sound like a broken record, but Garrett McCain is really good this season. His .365 batting average is best in the Big 12 this season. Overall, the team is hitting .259 (not great) and the pitching staff has a collective ERA of 4.29 - again, not great.
The Cowboys will send out a trio of righties to the mound this weekend, starting with Joe Lienhard. Lienhard is 2-0 on the season with a 3.77 ERA. Lienhard in 16 appearances, he has allowed 20 runs (18 earned) and has struck out 43 while walking 25 batters. Last time out against Texas, Lienhard went seven solid innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out six and walked four, but did not earn a decision in the game.
Tyler Buffett will take the ball Saturday. On the season, Buffett is 5-4 in 11 starts with a 4.79 ERA. The Cowboy workhorse has thrown 67.2 innings this season, 22 more innings than the next-closest pitcher. Buffett has given up 40 runs, and only four of those runs are unearned. He has a great K:BB ratio, logging 62:14 in his 11 games. Buffett doesn’t have the best control of the ball at times though, as he has hit nine batters this season and has thrown nine wild pitches.
Junior Blake Battenfield will finish the series for the Pokes. Battenfield has a 2-3 record on the season with a 4.73 ERA, but has appeared in 16 games. He is mostly a bullpen reliever, so while the Cardinals are going to pitch-by-committee on Saturday, the Cowboys appear to be doing that on Sunday. On the season, Battenfield has allowed 26 runs and all but two are earned. He has a 2:1 simplified K:BB ratio, throwing 38 strikeouts and walking 19 batters.
At this point in the season, it appears the Cowboys need to win the Big 12 tournament to reach the postseason. Even if they sweep this series against Lamar, if they don’t win the tournament, I don’t think they receive an at-large bid unless they win out the rest of the year.