MattBob's Baseball Report-Texas Tech

For the second time in two years the Oklahoma State Cowboys followed up a sweep of OU with a sweep of Texas Tech. However, the toughest test for the Pokes remains with a mid-week game in Wichita State before hosting Missouri in a weekend series to see who will take second place in the Big 12.

The Cowboys left little doubt this past weekend who the better team was in Lubbock. They opened the weekend with a 13-5 rout of Tech in front of a rowdy crowd Friday night. The Cowboys were lead offensively by Corey Brown, who became the first Cowboy since Josh Holiday in 1999 to draw five walks in a game. Friday was the worst start of Jeff Breedlove's young career, but the relief work of Robbie Weinhardt and Martin Beno shut down the Red Raider attack.

Saturday, lead by a beautiful outing on the mound by Oliver Odle, the Pokes shut out Tech to win 7-0. "Double O," as Odle is nicknamed, would walk just one runner in eight innings of run-less work, striking out six. For the first time in a long time Odle looked like the pitcher Cowboy fans were introduced to last season.

With the series win in place the Cowboys went for the sweep on Sunday. Thanks to good pitching and three two-run home runs, they did just that in a 10-0 run-rule performance. Ryan Flavell led the offensive attack with a 3-for-4 day that left him just a triple short of the cycle. Flavell regained his starting spot after Pittman, who had an amazing Bedlam, struggled with runners on Friday night.

Ty Wight entered the weekend with all eyes on him as he closed in on Monty Fariss's consecutive game hit streak. Ty wasted no time in equaling Farris on the OSU list for consecutive games with a hit, extending his hitting streak to 26 games. However, tying second place and extending the streak required him to get his hit in his final at -at. Friday that at-bat came only because his teammates exploded for five runs in the ninth.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the Sunday starting performance of Andy Oliver. Oliver had recently lost his spot in the rotation, but was given the start, because the other pitchers had faltered in the role. His 90-plus mph fastball blew by the Red Raiders, striking out eight. He would only allow 2 hits in the outing, but walked five in five innings of work.

The series most valuable player was a player that had been in a bit of a slump, Matt Mangini. Mangini came to Stillwater from North Carolina State as a very highly touted transfer, but he had fallen on hard times recently, a trend that also developed towards the end of last season at NC State. Against Tech, he reportedly shortened his swing just a bit and that's how he got back on track. He finished the weekend with six hits. He would have had RBIs to show for the effort except his spot deeper in the order did not allow him that opportunity, as Tyler Mach and Rebel Ridling did an excellent job getting runners in ahead of Mangini.

The sweep of Texas Tech and a series loss by Wichita State may reopen the door for a possible regional host. To host the Cowboys first have to beat Wichita State to eliminate the Shockers from consideration. With the Shockers position weakened by recent poor showings the host would either be Mizzou or Oklahoma State with the winner of this weekend's series being the favorite to host.

The Tuesday game with Wichita State is the first step to any host scenario. The Shockers were ranked in the top 10 entering this past weekend's series with top 25 Cal State Fullerton. However, the Titans took the first two games of the series in Wichita with relative ease before getting shut out on Sunday. The Cowboys know they are in for a fight against the Shockers. The Gene Stephenson-led Shockers consider Oklahoma State to be their top rival in a very heated series that dates back to many regional battles throughout the years.

This Wichita State team is maybe the best Shockers team Frank Anderson has seen in the other dugout. They are a solid hitting team, but the key to their success is outstanding pitching. Wichita State carries a team ERA of 2.58 compared to a 3.80 team ERA for the Cowboys.

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