MattBob's Baseball Report-Sunday

When 16th-ranked Oklahoma State started the Florida Atlantic Beach Ball Bash on Friday it had played relatively mistake free baseball and was 3-0. After the weekend the Pokes are 5-1, but have a few questions to answer.

One question that has been answered is what do the Cowboys have at catcher? The Cowboys have an Australian that comes to work every day in senior Ryan Flavell. Flavell has started four games for the Pokes and appeared in the other two, including this Sunday coming in for injured Ryan Pittman. Flavell has been solid blocking the plate and has added value on the base path that Cowboy fans were not expecting, as Flavell runs well for a catcher. At the plate, Flavell is batting .333 with a double and a triple.

The story for Fridays, game against La Salle was pitching. Junior right-hander Matt Gardner collected his seventh straight win dating back to last season. He allowed both of the runs in the 8-2 win, adding five strikeouts to his total in six complete innings. Gardner also tied a Poke record for most hit bats man in a game with four. However this was semi-intentional as La Salle's cleanup hitter was hit three times, in answer to La Salle beaning Tyler Mach. He was relieved by highly touted freshman left-hander Tyler Lyons. Lyon, in his debut outing for the Pokes, went three innings allowing just two hits.

The defense for the Pokes became a question mark on Saturday and was a big part of the Cowboys' first loss, as was some good old fashioned bad luck. Losing by a score of 9-6, OSU had four errors but they were extremely costly errors. In both the first and fourth inning an error took away a inning ending double play and the Owls of Florida Atlantic would go on to score a run in the extended innings. Much to Frank Anderson's dismay the Pokes were also hampered by a home town strike zone. Unfortunately, that is just a part of baseball, sometimes team's just have to play through it and hope it does not effect the outcome of the game.

Sunday can best be described as an offensive show of shock and awe. Every Cowboy scored a run in a 19-4 win over Ball State, who is coming off a NCAA tournament berth. The Pokes were aided by five Cardinal errors, but the Cowboys created their own fire power including two home runs by veteran Corey Brown. Last week's leader Tyler Mach added to his team leading hit count of 14 by getting four hits in six at-bats.

An unsung hero thus far as been the play of Matt Lopez, hitting in the nine hole. Matt has hit two doubles and drawn a team-high seven walks. He has been charged with two errors in six games, however one of those remains debatable. Which would lead some to question the former third baseman's play at short, but he has been a part of eight of the Cowboys nine double plays.

Lopez getting on base has been made all the crucial by the play of this weekend's MVP, senior outfielder and lead-off man Keanon Simon. In 14 official at bats, Simon collected seven hits, including a triple and two doubles. Of OSU's 32 runs scored this weekend, eight of them were Keanon running across home plate. Keanon also blazed a trail on the base path stealing three bases, including second and third in one inning. This offensive output does not take away from what the crafty veteran does in the field. Simon has by far been the best defensive player this season, catching any fly ball hit in his area, be it center field or left -- highlighted by a play in left on Sunday when Simon jumped and caught one at the wall.

The Cowboys will be on the road next week leaving Thursday to take on Cal State Northridge on Friday at 4 p.m. CST. The Pokes hope to have veteran Ty Wright back in the lineup, however there is no official word. Given the nature of his injury and the play of backups in his stead, Frank is probably going to wait until Ty is back to 100 percent before inserting him back in the lineup.

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