MattBob's Baseball Preview-Hartford

The 14th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (14-4) get set to host the Hartford Hawks (0-6) for a four-game weekend series this weekend. The middle two games will be a St. Patrick's Day doubleheader, with the second game added to the schedule to help both schools make up for canceled games. OSU comes in fresh off a two-game sweep of Western Illinois, and the Cowboys have won nine of their last 10.

UH is arriving in Stillwater after being swept on Wednesday in a doubleheader versus in-state rival Central Connecticut State.

The two-game, midweek series with Western Illinois wielded two different results for the Pokes. Tuesday was a slug fest whereas Wednesday was a pitching showcase.

Tuesday saw Cowboy batters tally 24 hits, with every starting fielder crossing home plate at least once in a 17-1 rout. The day was highlighted by the middle of Cowboy lineup. OSU's three through six hole hitters were a combined 13-for-22, with nine RBIs and a walk.

Andy Oliver got the start at pitcher. Oliver was originally slated to pitch last Sunday against Pepperdine, but that game was rained out. The freshman improved to a team-best 4-0 on the season with six innings of work only allowing one run on four hits, bringing his ERA down to 3.47.

The story from Wednesday's game was the combined two-hitter pitched by Cowboys pitchers Joe Kent, Robbie Weinhardt, Josh Fritsche and Justin Friend. The last time OSU two-hit an opponent was back in 2005 versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Kent got the victory for the Cowboys, allowing both hits in six innings, while striking out six Leatherneck batters.

Hartford is definitely a team that the Cowboys should beat severely in all four games. The Hawks are the last tune-up opponent on the schedule, as Oklahoma State begins Big 12 Conference play on the road against Kansas next weekend. Their pitching staff has been abysmal with a team ERA of more than 11 with over three walks a game and more extra base hits allowed than strikeouts. The Hawk's offensive is equally unimpressive, averaging a strikeout an inning with several starters yet to collect their first hit of the season.

Corey Brown, veteran outfielder for the Cowboys, is riding a season best eight-game hitting streak. Over the span of the streak, he is batting .467 with two doubles, three triples, and four home runs. He has also kept up his bat discipline during the streak, collecting nine walks, bringing his total to a team-best 17. Brown currently finds himself alone atop the Big 12 stats 33 runs scored and five triples. He ranks second among conference hitters with seven home runs.

Brown's success has been cemented by the play of Tyler Mach, who has been the most consistent Cowboy hitter. Mach leads the Big 12 with 29 RBIs, the majority of which are Brown crossing home. Mach leads the Big 12 with a .500 batting average.

With Mach, Brown and Matt Mangini, who is batting .427, in the lineup, it is no wonder that the Cowboys have the best batting average in the Big12 as a team at .347.

The Cowboys and Hawks will start their series at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Saturday's doubleheader will begin at 1 p.m. with the second game to begin 30 minutes after the first one is completed, two games for the price of one. Sunday's finale is an early start time of 11 a.m.

The games this weekend will be carried on either 93.7 FM, 780 AM, or 105.5 FM depending on the wrestling championship and women's basketball schedules. Audio and live stats are available for free, with video available through MVP at

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