Pitching in for the team

Scott Baker recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and allowed only three hits, while Cowboy catcher Jason Jaramillo blasted two home runs in Friday's 10-1 win over Kansas State. Baker cruised through the game, picking up his seventh win of the year.

Oklahoma State pitcher Scott Baker dominated the Kansas State lineup Friday night with a career-high 11 strikeouts, giving the Cowboys another overwhelming conference victory, 10-1.


Baker completed his career feat with modest intent.


"My main thing was to not walk anybody and get ahead of the hitters," Baker said. "I think if you start to think about a strikeout you start to press a little bit and you end up taking a reverse effect on yourself."


Baker played his strong fastball to the tune of three hits and one earned run in eight innings, and the preseason All-American rolled to his seventh victory of the season.


"His last two starts he's been real easy and his fast ball's exploding," said OSU coach Tom Holliday. "And what some people don't realize about Scotty Baker is he doesn't have to throw a lot of breaking balls or changeups or sliders. His fast ball has enough life to get the job done for him."


That pitch proved golden for Baker as he struck out the Wildcat left fielder Pat Maloney three times, forcing him to hit 0-for-4 on the evening. Maloney leads KSU in hits and is batting .371 on the season.


"Baker's something else, he's a special guy. When he gets the ball down there it's a very special thing," said OSU catcher Jason Jaramillo. "He got in there and he did the whole game; he had his stuff from the first inning through the eighth inning."


Baker's pitching around this time of year has lacked previously, making his performance Friday even more important.


"This time of the year is when we lost him the last two years," Holliday said. "The first year he got hurt right about now, and last year he just got dead-armed from this point on. Tonight he just made everything look so easy."


A rarity for the Cowboys (19-9, 5-2 Big 12), it wasn't necessary for Baker to hold KSU (10-17, 0-7) to only one run; it was simply the relish on the hot dog.


OSU's offense stepped up mainly on the bat of their Big 12 juggernaut, Jaramillo, who started the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with a solo home run. He finished 3-for-4 with 5 RBI.


"I was looking, I felt comfortable and I knew if I could get my pitch, I knew what I was going to do with it," Jaramillo said.


His next at bat, Jaramillo cleared the bases on a double that scored three runs to put the Pokes up 5-0. Then, after KSU starting pitcher Jim Ripley left the game with nine earned runs, Jaramillo finished his hitting trifecta by crushing a second solo home run to right field on a pitch with which he may not have completely connected.


"That one he hit to right, I don't think he hit the whole ball," Holliday said.


Jaramillo has stepped up at the right time in the season, despite some struggles early.


"He struggled a bit early, and we played so many games on the road at different ballparks," Holliday said. "He's just a good player. I wouldn't trade him right now for any catcher I've seen in the country."


The Cowboys definitely had everything working for them, and at the most important time.


"I just think we're all coming together at the right time, right in the middle of the Big 12," Baker said. "There's been times when we've had to pick up the hitters and the hitters have had to pick up the pitching, but as of right now we're doing great."


Carrying the momentum built at home into the rest of the season will be pertinent to the Cowboys' chances for success.


"We've got a chance to get comfortable at our own park and beat the teams that we know we can beat," Jaramillo said. "It's gonna carry over into wherever we go now."


OSU will get two more shots at the Wildcats this weekend, starting Saturday at 2 p.m.


OSU junior pitcher Spencer Grogan will attempt to even his 2-3 record against KSU's struggling junior pitcher Sean Clancy Saturday.

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