MattBob's Baseball Report-Nebraska

Oklahoma State Cowboys fans have one bit have happiness after losing two of three games to the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend. After eight years and 13 games, the Cowboy losing streak in Lincoln, Neb., has ended. Sunday's win marks the first time in the history of Haymarket Park that the Cowboys have won in Lincoln.

Oklahoma State escaped being swept on the weekend with the win on Easter Sunday, improving to 23-8 overall and 6-3 in Big 12 play. Nebraska, winning its first Big 12 series this year, improves to 19-12 and 5-7 in conference play.

There were few positives for Frank Anderson's team on the weekend, as they battled the elements, a resurgent Nebraska lineup, quality pitching, and questionable calls.

The cold weather and wind had noticeable effects on the defense this weekend. The wind turned routine fly balls into extremely hard plays. Several fielders for both teams were left scratching their heads after misplaying a ball that on a normal day would have been a can of corn pop fly.

Credit goes to the Nebraska hitters as they were able to take advantage of suspect starting pitching and put the ball in play. Coming into the weekend the Cornhuskers had the lowest batting average in the conference, but several Huskers finished above .500 on the weekend, just by putting the ball in play and letting the wind help them find a hole.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, were frustrated all weekend long by Husker pitching, with the exception of Sunday starter Zach Herr who never found the zone. Tony Watson, who had been fantastic in his previous two starts, was extremely dominant, aided by an expanded strike zone. Johnny Dorn and outstanding reliever Matt Foust combined to limit Cowboy batters to just two runs on Saturday, again aided by a varying strike zone.

The expanded strike zone and placement of pitches by the outstanding pitchers forced the Cowboys to swing at bad pitches. Those two factors combined to cause the Cowboys to strike out 36 times on the weekend.

The strikeouts and bad calls came to a head in game two when the Cowboys were in a position to launch a comeback when Keanon Simon was called out on a pitch that was located in the other batters box and only six inches off the ground. Umpires do not determine the outcome of a game, and it is unlikely the Cowboys come back and win either game one or two, but Bob Homolka's crew took away chances for the Cowboys and killed momentum that was building. Even Nebraska fans were upset with the level of officiating.

The most valuable player of the series for the Pokes was Ty Wright. Ty is the Cowboys' most vocal leader. He is consistently the voice heard in practice and before games getting his teammates fired up. He was pivotal in Sunday's victory going 2-for-4 and adding a walk and was one of the few Cowboys to avoid having a mental error in the field.

The Cowboys will make the long bus trip back to Stillwater , glad to return to the friendly confines of Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. They are scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 3 p.m. Wednesday against the Indians of Arkansas State, but those games may be moved up if the temperatures remain low.

Arkansas State is a mid-level Sun Belt opponent. However, the Indians do have the talent to win a game if the Cowboys do not take them seriously. ASU has already beaten Florida Atlantic twice this season. Florida Atlantic gave Oklahoma State its first loss of the season back in February. The player to watch this series is outfielder Josh Yates, who was selected as a pre-season All American.

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