MattBob's Baseball Report-Hartford

The 14th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys looked to win some games this weekend and experiment one last time against lowly Hartford before conference play begins Hartford took game one Friday night to pick up its first win of the season, and then the Cowboy bats went to work drilling the Hawks in the next three games.

Oklahoma State's loss to Hartford in Friday's opener can be attributed to two things, solid pitching and lack of effort. The Hawks' pitcher was a quality sidearm that worked both sides of the plate frustrating both right hand and southpaw batters. Sometimes, a guy is just dialed in, and Hartford's guy certainly was Friday night. The power went out at the ballpark early in the game, and when play started back up, the lights remained off in the home dugout. The team just did not seem into the series, likely attributable to the delay and because of the opponent. The lack of effort and the Hawks' pitcher were enough to seal a 8-4 Hartford victory.

The Cowboys wanted to do some things differently this weekend, especially with pitching to see what some guys could do. To accomplish this, all three of the regular weekend starting pitchers did not start. Martin Beno started game one, and he was obviously affected by the 30-minute delay. Matt Willis and Tyler Blandford both started in the doubleheader Saturday. The two freshmen preformed adequately in their first starts and will serve as a learning point going forward.

The start of the weekend, however, came on Sunday from Justin Friend. Friend has been the closer for the Pokes in the early part of the season, but there have not been too many save situations so the Coaches wanted to get him some innings. He answered the call by going 8 1/3 innings with 13 strikeouts. His 13 Ks are the most of a Cowboy pitcher since 2003 when Adam Daniels struck out 13 in a game against a poor Arkansas-Pine Bluff team.

Some names that pop from their relief appearances this weekend include Josh Fritsche, Brandon Adams and Aerik Taylor. Taylor and Fritsche, in limited work, have yet to allow an earned run.

Corey Brown's hit streak came to an end at 11 games with Sunday's 0-for-3 outing. But over the weekend, Brown extended his Big 12 lead in home runs tallying three.

Perhaps the biggest event this weekend, and certainly the one that drew the biggest applause from fans in attendanc, was the return of Jordy Mercer. Mercer has been sidelined following off-season knee surgery. Jordy came into the second game of the doubleheader and faced 10 batters in 2 2/3 innings of relief work. He got himself into a jam with two runners in scoring position, but then he got focused and escaped without giving up a run.

Dusty Harvard deserves a mention for his heads up base running on Saturday. Harvard drew ball four on a ball that got by the catcher for a passed ball. Instead of trotting down to first and just taking his base, Harvard every alertly took second base while the catcher was still looking for the ball. He then advanced to third on the next play on another passed ball. Harvard's speed is a huge advantage in the bullpen and can be called on in a game changing pinch runner situation.

The player of the series was without question outfielder Ty Wright. Ty was 9-for-14 on the weekend with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. He also managed to draw a walk in each of the four games. Ty might not be at full speed yet in the field, but his presence at the plate is that of a veteran leader.

The (17-5) Pokes will have some time off this week before beginning Big12 play Friday against Kansas in Lawrence. Frank Anderson had hoped to find a mid-week opponent to make up for some rain outs, but thus far that has not happened. Any changes to that will be announced on

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