Around the horn

Beefing up the schedule is right. No more low RPI ratings for the Cowboys, as they make their second road trip of the season, this time out West. OSU takes on Oregon State Friday in its first matchup of the Surprise Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic.



Feb. 12, 2003

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Oklahoma State (1-1)
at the Surprise Coca-Cola Spring Training Classic
vs. Oregon State, No. 5/7 Arizona State, Gonzaga
February 14-16
Surprise Stadium (10,500) * Surprise, Ariz.

The Matchups:
Oregon State (1-2) * Feb. 14 * 4 p.m. CT
Oregon State leads the all-time series 1-0

Arizona State (14-1) * Feb. 15 * 5 p.m. CT
ASU leads the all-time series 9-7

Gonzaga (0-0) * Feb. 16 * Noon CT
Oklahoma State leads the series 2-1.

In The Polls
Arizona State is 5th in Baseball America; 6th in the Sports Weekly/ESPN Coaches Poll; 7th in both Collegiate Baseball and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Polls.

Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Gonzaga are unranked.

The Coaches:
OSU's Mike Miller underwent shoulder surgery last week and will miss the 2003 season ... Freshman shortstop Chris Gutierrez first career hit was a triple against Stetson on Feb. 8 ... The Cowboys hit six doubles in two games last weekend in DeLand ... With the cancelled Florida A&M game, OSU now has 57 games on the slate, one more than the NCAA maximum of 56.

Changing Places in 2003
Relievers Joe Weaver and Shane Hawk make the move into the starting rotation after spending their first two seasons mainly in relief roles. Weaver, a 2001 Freshman All-American and Big 12 Freshman Pitcher of the Year, went 3-2 with a 4.01 ERA in a team-high 24 appearances last year. He opened the season, taking the hard-luck 4-3 loss to South Florida on Feb. 8. He gave up two earned runs in 4.2 innings of work with three walks and three strikeouts.
Hawk opened the 2002 season as a starter but moved into the bullpen after four starts to further harness his control. He proved to be very effective in long relief and did not allow an earned run in his last eight appearances (12 innings). He struck out 50 batters in 42.1 innings in 23 appearances. He was scheduled to start against Florida A&M last Sunday, but the game was cancelled due to rain.

Baseball America Tidbits
The Cowboys had several mentions in Baseball America's College Preview in January. Oklahoma State is picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 and make the NCAA tournament in 2003. Catcher Jason Jaramillo and pitcher Scott Baker were preseason All-Big 12 picks by the magazine and listed among the top prospects to watch. Baker is the third best prospect in 2003 while Jaramillo and Josh Fields are the fourth and fifth top prospects in the 2004 draft class. In the best tools category, Fields was rated as the second best pure hitter in the conference while Jaramillo was rated to be the best defensive catcher with the best arm. Baker's breaking ball was rated as the third best in the Big 12 to round out the Cowboy contingent.

2003 Schedule
Oklahoma State's 2003 schedule should be considered one of the toughest in the country. The slate includes 10 schools that made the NCAA tournament a year ago. The Cowboys will play 20 games against teams that finished in the Top 50 of the official Division I RPI rankings a year ago. In addition, the 2003 schedule includes games against six teams that are ranked in the Top 25 of the preseason polls. OSU's first eight games of the season are on the road and expanding that list, 13 of the first 19 are away from Stillwater.

From the Gridiron to the Diamond
Fresh off the Houston Bowl victory on the gridiron, sophomore Josh Fields makes the transition over to the baseball field where he hopes to build upon a solid freshman campaign. Fields set numerous single season records at quarterback for the Cowboy football team and is considered one of the top hitters in the conference in baseball. In 2002 the Stillwater High product batted .383 with three homers and 29 RBIs and was an honorable mention Freshman All-American. He proved to be just as deadly in conference play, batting .396 with two homers and 16 RBIs while boasting a .679 slugging percentage and was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team. This season he makes to move to third base after spending last season at either first base or as the designated hitter. He went 3-for-10 with one run scored last weekend in DeLand.

Oklahoma State and USA Baseball
USA Baseball ranked Oklahoma State No. 18 in a recent study that ranks the Top 50 Collegiate Baseball Programs that have produced USA Baseball National Team players, since 1984.
The Cowboys have produced six members on the team during the 18-year span which is tied with Texas, Tennessee and Long Beach State.
Oklahoma State players selected to play on the national team:

Gary Green SS 1984
Robin Ventura 3B 1988
Brad Beanblossom INF 1989
Jeromy Burnitz OF 1989
Matt Smith LHP 1999
Ryan Budde C 2000

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