You’re Not in Kansas Anymore
After a double header and a Sunday game, Josh Holliday’s ball club swept the Kansas Jayhawks to extend their conference record to 12-3, best in the Big 12. This is the third sweep of the 2018 season, and it came on the free-swinging bats of Trevor Boone, Matt Kroon, and Christian Funk.
Since the Big 12 opener in Austin, the Cowboys have gone 11-1 in conference, with their only loss to a strong West Virginia team in Morgantown. While the bats have come alive through conference play, so have the Cowboy arms.
Starting pitching and the bullpen has dominated conference play, and held a 4.37 ERA over the past 12 conference games. Even more impressive, the Cowboys have found a way to manage the pitching injuries that before seemed nearly insurmountable. Carson Teel has slid into the 1-hole, pitching Friday night, followed by Joe Lienhard and Jonathan Heasley.
Race to the Top
Your very own Oklahoma State Cowboys are the No. 1 team in the Big 12—for now. If the Cowboys want to win the Big 12 regular season title, a few things need to happen. First, let’s take a look at the current standings.
The Big 12 is one of the smaller conferences in College Baseball, but the top half is a murderer’s row of teams that will take you on any given day. The Cowboy’s only series loss is to Texas, who is currently a single game back and has a more than fair shot of overtaking the Pokes. However, the Longhorns still have to play the following: at West Virginia, at Texas Tech, vs TCU.
And the ‘Horns schedule isn’t the only thing that makes an OSU Conference Championship possible. Nationally ranked Texas Tech won a series against OU 2-1, which is why provided the tie at 3rd place between the two 10-5 teams.
Essentially, the remaining schedule for most teams is somewhere in the top 5. If the Pokes can carry this momentum down the stretch, they have an exceptional shot at their first regular season championship since 2014.
College Baseball is ranked by a multitude of sources; OSU is not ranked in every poll, but D1Baseball and Collegiate Baseball, highly reliable sources, put the Pokes at No. 23 and No. 17 respectively.
And, good for Josh Holliday, we aren’t the only Big 12 team in the Top 25. Texas Tech comes in at No. 5, and the polls round out with Texas and Oklahoma. The national esteem of these teams puts the Cowboys in an exceptional position to succeed, regardless of the conference outcomes.
We have three conference series remaining: Bedlam - with the first game being at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, then the final two games at ONEOK Field in Tulsa - at Baylor, and Texas Tech at home. The odds of us sweeping Baylor are relatively high, and a series win in either Bedlam or against Texas Tech positions the Pokes to win the conference, and vie to host in the postseason.
As mentioned, this weekend is a huge opportunity for the Pokes to take the next step toward the conference title. Be there. Be rowdy. Go Pokes.