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Oklahoma State Baseball’s Struggles with Runners in Scoring Position

How OSU’s issues with RISP has led to a disappointing season

Nate Billings/The Oklahoman

Oklahoma State baseball’s 2017 season has not been great. After dropping their weekend series to Lamar 1-2, they’re likely to be left out the postseason barring a run through the Big 12 tournament.

There are a number of things to point to for what’s gone wrong this season; youth, injuries, an improved Big 12. Of them all, one might be the biggest; an inability to make the most of runners in scoring position.

If there’s one thing that I don’t like to see while watching a baseball game, it’s seeing runners getting stranded in scoring position. The Pokes have struggled with that all season and I got to thinking how different the season might have been had the Cowboy offense been able to get those guys across home plate.

The Cowboys have had 10 ball games that have been lost by one or two runs. That’s a little bit less than half of their 21 total losses this season. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see how RISP has affected those close games and how it’s affected the Pokes’ season.

In the 10 games that the Pokes lost by one or two runs, the Cowboys left 50 runners in scoring position. Think about that; that’s an average of five runners left between 90 and 180 feet away from scoring in games that were lost by one or two runs.

Of those 10 games lost by either one or two runs, seven of them were Big 12 games.

Let’s take a look at the TCU series, for example. The Cowboys went 1-2 in Fort Worth. In the two games the Cowboys lost, the scores were 7-5 and 6-5. In the first game, the Cowboys left five runners in scoring position. if just three of the five of those runners had been brought in, that’s a win. It was the same story with game two of that series. That’s a series win for the Cowboys and their record is two games better .

Not getting the clutch hits in those close games has definitely been a factor in the Cowboys season. If those runners get brought in and those games are wins, OSU’s record is 34-11 and they are 13-3 in the Big 12. That record would give them a way better chance at the postseason than our current 24-21 (6-10 Big 12).

Now I realize at this point there’s not a whole lot the Pokes can do with two series and a game left, but it can’t hurt to win out the rest of the season.

If someone gets to second or third base in a one or two run ball game, that’s a must-hit situation. That’s a place where the Pokes have struggled. It’s seems they either strike out, hit into a double play or have a shallow fly out that doesn’t allow the runners to move up. Now, there’s no way to tell what they’re thinking, but it seems they get nervous in those situations. They need to work on calming down, watching pitches and just being more careful. Part of that may be that this team is young. There are 7-8 true freshman on the roster that play regularly. Not many schools do that. If that gets worked on, and the freshman get some more games under their belts, I have no doubt this team can make it back to Omaha sooner rather than later.