MattBob's Baseball Report-Bedlam

The Oklahoma State Cowboy baseball team just having completed their finals for this semester knew this weekend was going to be a test against in-state rival Oklahoma. Oklahoma State would pass the test with flying colors and secure a Bedlam sweep for the second year in a row.

The Sooners struck first in each of the three games, and in each of the three games the Cowboys came from behind to win in exciting fashion. The magic started Friday night in Tulsa when Rebel Ridling and Jordy Mercer would hit back-to-back home runs to snatch the lead from OU. Reliever Justin Friend, with the lead, would not allow a single Sooner hit in the final two innings preventing any chance of an Oklahoma answer.

In game two of the three-game set, the Cowboys left little doubt who was the series champ. Starter Oliver Odle surrendered two runs in the first inning and that would be the only Oklahoma runs for the entire game. The Cowboy lineup would reward the pitching effort of Odle, whose 6 and 2/3 innings was the longest outing for a Cowboy starter in conference play. Oklahoma State would tally 10 runs in the effort lead by home runs by Mercer and Mach.

Sunday, with brooms in the stands, all the Cowboys had to do was win and they would secure the first ever Oklahoma State back-to-back series sweep in Bedlam. The Sooners accomplished the feat in 1976 and 1977 over OSU teams with losing records. Sunday was the hardest fought game of the series with the Cowboys four times equaling the Sooner lead, before scoring the winning run in the bottom of ninth for the first Oklahoma State lead of the day. With the win the Cowboys hoisted the Bedlam championship for the third time in four years under Frank Anderson.

With a hit Sunday, Ty Wright extended his hitting streak to 24 consecutive games, which is tied with Robin Ventura for the third-longest streak in Cowboy history. With a hit Friday versus Texas Tech, Ty would move into a tie for second with Monty Fariss at 25 games. Robin Ventura's record will not be broken this season, but Ty's streak of 24 games would be a record at most schools and is certainly worthy of recognition. On his way to the streak, Wright is on paced to be the first Cowboy hitter to hit .400 since 2000 and only the third since the end of the Gary Ward era.

A big part of the Cowboys' success this season has been the pitching out of the bullpen. The anchor of the bullpen has been closer Justin Friend. Friend leads the team with 61 strikeouts in just 54 innings of work. In the Bedlam series, Friend received the save in both Friday and Saturday's games. Those two saves brought his total to 7 on the season, which is tied for the third most in Cowboy history. The record is 10 shared by Marques Davis and Dennis Livingston.

The series most valuable player goes to the man that has earned the nickname "Sooner Killer" from Sooners' head coach Sonny Galloway. Mercer hit home runs in Friday and Saturday's game and was on the mound Sunday when the Cowboys scored the winning run making him the game winning pitcher. Mercer finished the weekend 5-for-11 at the plate, drawing two base on balls, and by hit by a pitch. In relief work, he collected two strikeouts in two innings pitched in the win on Sunday.

With the series sweep, the Cowboys are right back in the middle of the postseason discussion after being downgraded following being swept by Texas.

So what does Oklahoma State need to do to hos at regional? The short answer is keep winning. Right now the Pokes have a RPI of 55, which is not a great position to be in when they are a bubble host team. However, the schedule still shows 10 games, and those 10 games will decide a lot of what is to come.

The Cowboys begin their chase for their first regional since 1997 on the road in Lubbock this weekend. Tech is not expected to make the Big 12 tournament and it is a very winnable series for the Cowboys. Fans would like to pick up a sweep on the road, but this is a tall order, especially in the Lubbock winds. Realistically winning two games is enough in Lubbock.

After Lubbock is when the schedule starts to look more like a playoff. The Cowboys will go to Wichita State to face a top-10 rival before hosting a top-25 Missouri in a series that will determine who finishes second behind Texas in the Big 12.

The host situation may ultimately come down to one school hosting out of Wichita State, Missouri and Oklahoma State, as Texas and Texas A&M have all but locked up host sites. If the Cowboys are to be that team, they need to beat WSU, take the series from Mizzou, and then win at least 2 of their 3 games in the round-robin play of the Big 12 Tournament in Bricktown.

The chances Oklahoma State can host are about 20 percent right now, but the likelihood would increase if Cal State Fullerton were take the series from Wichita State this weekend and the Cowboys get a very convincing victory over the Shockers.

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