Baseball: OSU-Texas Preview

The Oklahoma State Cowboy baseball squad (15-4, 0-0) hits the road this weekend for a three-game series against the defending national champion Texas Longhorns (16-10, 1-1) in Austin, Texas, beginning Friday night. This series is monumental for both teams as the Longhorns look to prove they are still a title contender, while the Cowboys will find out just how good they are.

The Cowboy bats have carried them all season and will have to continue to do so in order to win this weekend's series. Led by sophomore outfielder Corey Brown, the Pokes are hitting .343 as a team, good for second in the Big 12 through the non-conference slate. Brown is one of three Cowboys hitting above .400 for the season, while three others are above .300. The Cowboys, who head coach Frank Anderson openly considers this year's squad his best hitting team in his three-year tenure, must get on the scoreboard early against the Longhorns.

Texas has a reputation for always having quality arms on the staff, and this year is no different, led by a trio of right-handers. Longhorn ace Kyle McCulloch is much better than his 1-4 record and 4.10 earned run average would lead you to believe. McCulloch pitched a complete game while picking up a 4-3 win against the Cowboys last April in Stillwater.

Next in the rotation is sophomore Adrian Alaniz. Alaniz has the best numbers on the staff with a 3-0 record and 1.77 ERA. Opponents are only hitting .207 against Alaniz and he has 31 strikeouts to only 16 walks in 7 starts. In game three the Cowboys will likely see 6-foot-10 Kenn Kasparek. Kasparek is 3-1 on the year and closed the deal with 1.1 scoreless innings in the Longhorns victory over seocnd-ranked Rice.

The Cowboy bats versus the Longhorns pitching will likely decide this weekends match up. Oklahoma State will have to rely on timely hitting and execution with runners on base. This will be even more emphasized with the loss of first baseman Rebel Ridling. Ridling suffered a broken wrist after a collision during Friday's victory over Stony Brook. Rebel was hitting at a .366 clip prior to the injury. Senior slugger Adam Carr will likely start at first base, while Matt Clarkson and Ryan Flavell will split time behind the plate.

Oliver Odle will get the start Friday for the Pokes, with Charles Benoit going on Saturday, and Sunday still up for grabs. Game times are 6:15 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday at Disch-Falk Field.

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