Oklahoma State Weekend Series Preview

The Texas Longhorns travel to Stillwater this weekend for a road test against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. This series will go a long way in determining whether the Horns will contend for the Big 12 conference championship. Burnt Orange Beat previews the series.

There's no doubt about it -- the next two weekends will decide whether or not the Texas Longhorns (18-7, 4-5 Big 12) will be in the conference championship hunt this season. The ‘Horns have two consecutive road series, and it begins with the Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-8, 3-3) this weekend.

Pitching

For the Longhorns, it's the same old story on the mound.

Friday: Chance Ruffin, So., RHP (4-2, 2.68 ERA...47.0 IP, 40 H, 10 BB, 39 K)
Saturday: Brandon Workman, So., RHP (3-2, 2.15 ERA...37.2 IP, 22 H, 7 BB, 39 K)
Sunday: Cole Green, So., RHP (2-0, 2.31 ERA...35.0 IP, 31 H, 7 BB, 23 K)

The entire pitching staff should be rested after six hurlers threw -- but none more than two innings -- on Tuesday night against Oral Roberts.

With his excellent performance on Tuesday, reliever Kendal Carrillo has earned a trip to Stillwater, as he made this weekend's traveling roster. But with a rested bullpen that includes Taylor Jungmann, Austin Dicharry, Austin Wood and Keith Shinaberry, he almost certainly won't be a priority this weekend.

While the Cowboys don't have much depth in their bullpen, they do have one of the nation's most talented starting rotations.

Friday: Andy Oliver, Jr., LHP (4-2, 5.59 ERA...38.2 IP, 41 H, 14 BB, 50 K)
Saturday: Tyler Lyons, Jr., LHP (4-2, 3.60 ERA...35.0 IP, 34 H, 8 BB, 26 K)
Sunday: Tyler Blandford, Jr., RHP (5-0, 3.83 ERA...40.0 IP, 23 H, 20 BB, 53 K)

Oliver and Lyons were two of the best starters in the Big 12 last season. While they haven't met expectations thus far this season, they certainly have the ability to shut down any team in the nation at any given moment.

Freshman closer Randy McCurry has been nails for the Cowboys, posting a 2.35 ERA with six saves in 12 appearances. However, after McCurry, Oklahoma State has just a couple of reliable relievers. The series could rest on whether or not the Longhorns can get into the Oklahoma State bullpen this weekend.

Offense

At Stillwater's Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, you can generally expect a lot of runs. The Cowboys have -- by far -- the Big 12's best hitter's park. However, with Texas' offensive woes and their strong pitching, this should still be a relatively low-scoring series.

Unfortunately for the ‘Horns, they will be without first baseman and leading slugger Brandon Belt this weekend. Belt took a ball off his eye in batting practice earlier in the week [he didn't play against Oral Roberts] and he was unable to make the trip to Stillwater. As previously mentioned, Carrillo has taken Belt's spot on the traveling roster.

Expect to see Preston Clark move to first base, as there is no real backup first baseman on the club. Cameron Rupp will likely catch all three games this weekend.

As usual, the Cowboys have excellent offensive numbers. They are hitting .320 as a team with 41 home runs in 28 contests. They haven't been bad in Big 12 play, either, as they've got a .298 average in conference play.

C: Kevin David, So. (.347, 2 HR, 24 RBI)
1B: Dean Green, So. (.326, 3 HR, 17 RBI)
2B: Davis Duren, So. (.284, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 8/9 SB)
SS: Tom Belza, So. (.303, 1 HR, 27 RBI)
3B: Tyrone Hambly, Sr. (.347, 5 HR, 24 RBI)
LF: Neil Medchill, Jr. (.375, 9 HR, 36 RBI)
CF: Micheal Dabbs, Sr. (.359, 6 HR, 25 RBI)
RF: Doug Kroll, Jr. (.340, 7 HR, 29 RBI)
DH: Mark Ginther, Fr. (.289, 1 HR, 7 RBI)


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