After starting off the season 1-3, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have won four straight games including their home opener against Missouri State on Wednesday afternoon and are now 5-3.
The Cowboys were originally scheduled to play a three game series against Western Illinois, but due inclement weather this weekend in Stillwater they will be relocated to Auburn, AL. OSU will play Western Illinois on Friday, Auburn on Saturday and then Western Illinois again on Sunday.
Western Illinois Overview
Western Illinois is 0-3 on the season after being swept in its opening series against Middle Tennessee State. The Leathernecks are coached by Ryan Brownlee who is in his third year at the helm, winning 21 games and appearing in The Summit League Championship game last season.
The Leathernecks do not have any players currently on an MLB roster, but longtime Detroit Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont is a graduate.
Keys to Victory
The Cowboys let soft-tossing left-hander Andy Cheray hold them to only two hits through the first six innings of the game on Wednesday. A team that scored 10+ runs in three consecutive games against Pac-12 opponents should be able to hit a pitcher that doesn't throw harder than 81 MPH.
WIU did not have a starter make it past the 5th inning or allow less than five runs last weekend. I don't expect the Leathernecks to trot out any All-Americans this weekend, so scoring early against weaker pitching will be important in both games against WIU.
GET A GOOD START FROM NURDIN
LHP Tyler Nurdin (0-1 5.87 ERA) has been the Friday starter the last two weekends. Even though he has struggled, I anticipate he will get the nod again. In two starts, Nurdin has allowed seven runs on 15 hits in 7 2/3 innings so far this season. OSU has lost both of Nurdin's starts this season, so reversing this trend will be important.
DON'T BE THEIR FIRST VICTORY
I know they've only played three games this season, but WIU has yet to win so far this year. These are games that the No. 10 team in the country should win, even with Nurdin on the mound in one of them.