The KU baseball team is in Stillwater this weekend playing the #13 Ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. I was not able to get a full series preview up for this key weekend but I did want to open this thread for game results and to pass along media information.
On Friday night OSU's ace, Andrew Oliver, accomplished something that no other pitcher has in over a month, he shut down the powerful Jayhawk offense. Oliver limited KU to four hits over eight innings while leading OSU to a 6-1 series opening victory. The last time KU was held to fewer then three runs in a game was back on March 15th at Texas. Nick Czyz was the hard-luck loser yet again. He pitched into the seventh inning, trailing 2-1, before giving way to Paul Smyth. This marked the third consecutive Big-12 start in which Czyz has pitched at least six inning and kept the team in the game, unfortunately KU has only recorded one Friday win during this streak.
A real quick scouting outline of OSU. They are one of the best teams in the nation. Their overall record is 30-11. They are in third place in the Big-12 at 12-7. Their RPI ranking is a stellar #6. The Cowboys are 18-2 in Stillwater. Obviously, in no way was this going to be an easy weekend for the Jayhawks. Winning one of three in Stillwater will be a minor triumph. Full OSU stats can be found here.
Offensively the Cowboys are the best team in the conference, averaging 8.2 runs per game. Their pitching is much improved this year, surrendering only 4.4 runs per contest. Oklahoma State is pushing hard to host a regional come NCAA tournament time. Most national analysts expect them to get the job done. The Cowboys are one of the hottest teams in the country. KU is not catching them at a good time.
The probably starters for the two remaining games:
Saturday 2PM - Andres Esquibel (3-3, 4.12 ERA) vs. Tyler Lyons (6-2, 3.32 ERA)
Sunday 1PM - T.J. Walz (3-0, 4.03 ERA) vs. Tyler Blandford (3-3, 7.08 ERA)
All three games can be heard live on KLWN AM-1320. Steaming audio can be accessed here.
Below I'll copy bkmhoxx' prospect preview which he posted Friday night.
3B Matt Hague 6'2, 215, SR -Hague is a monster offensively and defensively. He is a transfer from Washington (played 3 years at Wash.) and was drafted in the 11th round last year by Cleveland. He is batting .358 with 6 HR, 41 RBI, 11 Doubles, 20 walks and 20 K's. He is a very talented 3rd baseman and will be drafted very high this summer. My guess would be top 3 rounds.
1B Rebel Ridling 6'3, 230, SR - Ridling can mash. He is also a good first baseman. He is batting .321 with 10 HR, 40 RBI, 11 Doubles, 17 walks and 36 K's. Ridlings main weakness is the strikeout but if his power is for real, that wont matter near as much. I see Ridling as a top 5 round pick as well unless he ends on a slide and the scouts are scared of his strike zone judgment, in which i can see him slipping in the round 5-7.
SS Jordy Mercer 6'3, 200, JR - Mercer is a big shortstop with a big bat and plays very good defense and has a plus arm. Mercer was drafted in the 26th round in 05 by the Dodgers. He is currently batting .345 with 9 HR, 40 RBI, 7 doubles, 9 walks and 25 K's. Mercer has some good pop and does a good job of hitting for average. He does strike out a little bit too much but he offers plenty at the next level. If Mercer can stay at SS, he will go in the top 5 rounds. If scouts think he has to move to 3rd then he might drop a little bit. He is also the closer for Okie St. although with a bat like his, he wont be drafted for pitching.
LHP Andrew Oliver 6'3, 209, SO - Oliver is one of the top pitchers in the nation with a great pitchers body. He was drafted in the 17th round in 06 by Minnesota. This year he has an ERA of 2.32 in 62 innings. He has 61 K's, has issued 27 walks and has given up 41 hits. He is the Friday night pitcher and true ace. He has 1 more year to play college ball and i would expect him to for sure be a first round pick after next season.
The Cowboys have numerous other draftable players but way too many to go into detail about without me actually getting to see them play.
Thomas, Dabbs, Hambly, Medchill, Flores and more position players will all be drafted or have been drafted before. Pitchers, Otto, Peck, Gardner, Weinhardt, Blanford, Lyons and maybe more are in the same boat.
This will be a team to watch next year when they come to Lawrence even though several of the great seniors will be gone.
KU needs to get 1 win from this series to make me happy.