MattBob's Baseball Report-Big 12 Tourney

The pool play Big 12 Tournament may be a big success in the eyes of coaches around the league, but it has not meant success for Oklahoma State. In the two years of the pool play, the Cowboys have yet to win a game, each year picking up three losses to end the season as opposed to at maximum two losses under the old format. That extra loss may have profound consequences on this year's Cowboy team.

After a collapse against OU on Friday, the Cowboys were looking forward to going out and playing again Saturday. Sometimes the biggest therapy baseball has to offer is the quick turnaround, but that did not happen this time. Missouri was a very tough match for the Pokes all season, and the Tigers were the wrong opponent to face in hopes of getting back on track.

The Tigers jumped out early on the Cowboys. Coupled with the emotional drain of the previous night's loss and the quick surge by the Tiger, the Cowboys mentally struggled to make any attempt to launch a comeback. Ty Wright, Keanon Simon and Matt Mangini were the only batters in the lineup to collect a hit in the 13-1 run rule loss.

From a mental standpoint the Cowboys had to pitch well enough to hang with Rick Zagone, the hard-throwing starter for Missouri. That did not happen. Frank Anderson used five pitchers and none of them were able to stabilize the game. The longest outing went to senior Josh Fritsch, who lasted just two innings. The Cowboy pitchers were able to strike out nine Missouri batters which prevented the loss from being even larger, but they struggled to keep the Tigers from hitting bloop singles.

The current Cowboy losing streak, now at six games, is unlike any other stretch of play this season. The streak has been characterized by bad defense and lackluster offense. The Cowboys had a top-15 fielding percentage just three weeks ago, but during the Missouri series committed countless errors.

Perhaps most surprising is the drop off in the offensive power numbers over the last two weeks. Since the Texas Tech series, the Cowboys have only hit one home run in seven games. In the 57 games played this season, the Cowboys have hit 76 home runs, or an average of 1.33 per game. The emotional lift that can be provided by a home run cannot be underscored especially given the streak the Cowboys are on.

The recent slump by the Cowboys has hurt their postseason aspirations. Every goal this team set with regard to the postseason is still obtainable, however the road has been made even harder by the whimper into the end of the season.

The projections that were released after the loss to Missouri have the Cowboys as a three seed in Lafayette-Louisiana, and one of the last five teams selected for the field. The poor play by the Cowboys has hurt them, but perhaps the biggest damage has been the tournament success of Baylor and Oklahoma. The Big 12 was thought to have six to seven teams heading to the NCAA, but the play by OU and Baylor (coupled with their much better RPI) has shot them into the field and at a higher seed than the Cowboys who swept both in the regular season.

The Cowboys, along with the rest of America, will learn their fate on selection Monday at 11:30 a.m. CST on ESPN.

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