La Salle enters the Beach Ball Bash without having seen any competition. La Salle returns seven starters from a Atlantic 10 Conference team that went 20-31, but was named team of the year in Philadelphia.
The Cowboys are slated to see three right-handed starting pitchers, which will be a welcome change from the soft tossing lefties that gave the lineup some trouble last weekend. Florida Atlantic's Mickey Storey, who is scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Cowboys, is very good. He was selected as an All-American his freshman year. Thus far in his junior campaign, he is 2-0, in both outings going five innings and striking out 8. Hewill most likely be on a pitch count, so the Cowboys will have a chance at the bullpen late in the game.
The Owls will try to test the arm and reaction time of the Cowboy catchers. In just six games Florida Atlantic have stolen 31 bases. The most dangerous on the base path is center fielder Daniel Cook ,who is batting .583 and currently leads the team with seven swipes.
For Sunday's finale, the Cowboys will face Ball State which is coming off a NCAA Tournament berth and Mid-American Conference Tournament championship year. Ball State bolsters a roster that has two players on preseason watch lists. Outfielder Justin Rogers is a candidate for player of the year, after batting .560 over the Cardinals last 14 games. The other player is closer Kyle Heyne, who is up for stopper of the year, after recording 12 saves with a 2.11 ERA last year.
Any baseball fans concerned with the status of outfielder Ty Wright need not worry. He is currently projected to start in left this weekend, after sustaining an oblique muscle strain in last Friday's action.
Filling in for Ty Wright last week was OSU freshman Dylan Brown. Dylan, the younger brother of preseason All-American Corey Brown, is trying to make a name for himself all his own. In high school, Dylan was named the Tampa, Fla., athlete of the year achieving all-state honors in both baseball and football. With Ty back in the lineup, Dylan will have to do that as the designated hitter. Despite just getting two hits in the opening weekend and striking out five teams, Dylan made a splash on the base paths by drawing four walks, which is good enough for a tie for best on the team with shortstop Matt Lopez. Dylan works a pitch count high for a freshman as he gains experience his strikeout will diminish while hopefully maintain his high walks drawn.
All eyes will be on Sunday's starting pitcher freshman Andy Oliver. Andy got himself into some trouble in his debut outing, occasionally losing control of the strike zone. If Andy is continue to start he is going to have to cut down on his walks. Nothing gets a pitcher in more trouble under Frank Anderson than walks. Oliver has tremendous potential with his to place fast ball, but he needs to shake the freshman jitters quickly or he could find himself in the bullpen instead of the starting rotation.
The Pokes will try to get quality innings out of their bullpen this weekend. After shaking performances from bullpen pitchers against Illinois-Chicago, Frank will be trying to decide which guys he can rely on. Look for freshmen Tyler Lyons and Aerik Taylor to get their first game experience.
The games can be listened to live on Stillwater radio, online at okstate.com, or check GoPokes.com for inning by inning updates.
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