The ace of any pitching staff has quite the responsibility. His job is to go out and set an example for the rest of the team to follow. His actions will set the tone for the entire series, or in this case, the tournament.
Enter Scott Baker.
The Cowboy fireballer comes into Wednesday's opening game of the Big 12 Tournament sporting an impressive 10-4 record and 3.20 ERA. He also leads the team in strikeouts -- fanning a whopping 93 batters in 103 innings pitched. His performance will have a great effect on the rest of the season. In a sense, his right arm is supporting the weight of the entire Cowboy squad.
This situation is nothing new
to Baker though; as the Cowboys have depended upon him all season as their
leader. His start Wednesday against
While Baker may be the ace, the Cowboys will also have to rely on starters Spencer Grogan and Joe Weaver to give them some quality innings. Both pitchers enter the tourney with three wins and an ERA above 5.00, but both have also shown the ability to shut down a good opposing team. Those types of performances will be expected if the Pokes are to advance in the tournament.
Starting pitchers are important, but let's not forget about the guys that finish the games as well. Shane Hawk and Daniel Rew have been counted on to get out of many jams throughout the season, and it is safe to say this tournament could happen the same way. Many a game is won or lost by the bullpen. These guys must be ready for a challenge should the situation arise.
A perfect example of the
importance of pitching is
Coming off a big weekend in
Because now, it's win, or go home.
Brandon Ingham can be reached via e-mail at Ingham@osuinsider.com
2002 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament printable bracket