Stillwater Showdown: Freeman vs. Benintendi

Saturday night's game between Arkansas and No. 11 Oklahoma State will deliver a rare treat in one of those marque match-ups between a standout pitcher and a record-setting hitter. Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Michael Freeman of OSU squares off against SEC Player of the Year and National Player of the Year candidate Andrew Benintendi of Arkansas at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

Freeman, who is also a Second Team All-American with Louisville Slugger and Collegiate Baseball, is a rags to riches story of a big left-handed pitcher that only threw seven innings last season but came on with a major restructuring of his delivery, release point, and style to be one of the best pitchers in college baseball. He will tell you the work and coaching of OSU pitching coach Rob Walton has made the difference, along with Freeman's determination and work ethic.

Benintendi is a big-time player who has simply improved every season in his, so far, three-year collegiate career. He is dominating with the bat and likely a first-round pick in the upcoming Major League Amateur Draft.

Benintendi is one of only two players nationally with over 15 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and he is the first Razorback player to ever do it. He is also in the top 25 nationally in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

Arkansas has won 10 of the last 11 games that Benintendi has homered in. In the regional opener against ORU, he was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI double as he had two RBI in the game.

Freeman posted even better stats in Big 12 play with a 5-2 record and a 0.80 earned run average in 56 innings pitched. Opponents could only hit .172 against him. He also limited Big 12 Player of the Year Cody Jones of TCU to a 1-for-4 day in a complete game win performance. Texas Tres Barrera and OU's All-Big-12 standout Kolby Carpenter also were only able to go 1-for-4 against Freeman.

Here are the overall numbers on the men on the marquee in Saturday night's "Stillwater Showdown" between the Cowboys and the Razorbacks. By the way, get there early as Oklahoma State won the toss and will be the home team. Freeman and Benintendi square off right off the bat in the top of the first.

Michael Freeman: 10-2 record, 1.05 ERA, 102.2 innings pitched, 4 complete games, 67 hits allowed, 20 runs allowed, 12 earned runs allowed, 25 walks-to-92 strikes outs, 6 doubles allowed, 1 triple allowed, 1 home run allowed, .183 opponents batting average.

Andre Benintendi: .398 batting average, 82 hits in 206 at bats, 56 runs scored, .743 slugging percentage, 13 doubles, 2 triples, 18 home runs, 40 walks, 29 strike outs, 22-of-26 stolen bases.


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