MattBob's Baseball Report-Texas

The Oklahoma State Cowboys entered this weekend with their eyes on first place and their first Big 12 title, but instead took part in a less admirable phase of OSU history. Texas swept the Cowboys in the three-game series and this Cowboy team became the first in Allie P. Reynold's Stadium history to lose three straight at home.

The Cowboys were frustrated by Texas pitchers all weekend. This fact was highlighted on Sunday when the Cowboys got shutout at home for the first time since March 1998. The entire Cowboy lineup struggled with curveballs and hurt themselves on the base paths when they did get on base.

In the series, Frank Anderson's team made several mental mistakes, beginning at the plate where they stuck out 27 times. Corey Brown was caught stealing in two games. Cowboy pitchers were also charged with four balks. Not since the Nebraska series has this team looked so average at every aspect of the game.

Perhaps the only bright spot on the weekend came Friday night, with the start of Jeff Breedlove. In front of a national television audience (ESPNU) and a packed house, Breedlove gave the Cowboys maybe their best start from a pitcher in conference play. In six and a third innings of work the side-armed right-handed pitcher fanned seven and allowed just three runs. On most days that would have been more than enough to get a Cowboy victory. But the Cowboy lineup let down their pitcher and Breedlove got no run support and picked up the loss, falling to 0-3 on the season.

This weekend was billed as a potential offensive explosion with both teams having the ability to let home runs fly out of Allie P., and with the two best home run hitters in the conference, Kyle Russell of Texas and Corey Brown of Oklahoma State, doing battle. However, both hitters struggled the entire weekend. Russell would finish the weekend with seven strikeouts, and Corey would finish three strikeouts to go with his three hits.

Corey was not the only Cowboy batter to be frustrated this weekend. Matt Mangini managed to collect only one hit, before letting his emotions boil over on Sunday. In his second at-bat in the series finale, Mangini was called out on a controversial pitch, he immediately turned around and confronted the umpire. An action that led to his ejection. He responded to his ejection by slamming his helmet into the dirt in a manner that was less than sportsman like. The umpires had been questionable in the eyes of the Cowboys all weekend, beginning with three balk calls on Friday, but there is no excuse for a player to respond in that manner.

The series most valuable player goes to Jeff Breedlove, without much contestation. Breedlove is an Oklahoma product. The former All-State pitcher from Hillsdale High School in Muskogee has been making strides since setting foot on campus last season. In 2005, Breedlove became a bullpen staple, earning his scholarship in two appearances in the regional. He did not allow a run in relief work. This season Breedlove was expected to the closer with the early season injury to Jordy Mercer, but the addition of Justin Friend has allowed Breedlove to move into the starting rotation where Frank Anderson has struggled to find consistent starting pitching.

The Cowboys fall to third place in the Big 12 standings, two games behind second-place Missouri which swept Texas Tech, and only a half game ahead of fourth-place Texas A&M.

There is not time for the Cowboys to reflect on the series and improve as this week is finals week at Oklahoma State, and the players will be focused on tests before facing OU on Friday night. This is not the first time the Cowboys have struggled the weekend before finals. In the Frank Anderson era the Pokes are just 6-6 in series played during dead week. The wins are skewed by a sweep of lowly Kansas State last year.

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