Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

May 2, 2014

Cowboys set to host Sun Devils

The last time the ninth-ranked Oklahoma State baseball team met the No. 26 Arizona State Sun Devils in the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic on March 2, they were held to three hits in a 6-1 loss. This weekend, the Cowboys look to avenge that loss as they start a three-game series at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

“They are a really good team and I have a lot of respect for their players and coaches, having worked there myself,” coach Josh Holliday said. “They are a very good ball club and its going to be a great challenge for us.”

The Cowboys (32-13) will face left hander Brett Lilek again in Friday’s opener. Lilek enters the series with a 4-2 record and a 1.75 ERA. On Saturday’s Oklahoma State will face Ryan Kellogg (6-2, 3.15 ERA) who also pitched in the March game. Holliday said it should be a great pitching matchup.

“Arizona State got some of the most dominant pitchers we will see this year in Lilek and Kellogg,” Holliday said. “Those kids are really good and they have a number of good relief pitchers. So it should be fun to watch.”

The Pokes have solid pitchers of their own starting with ace Jon Perrin (5-3, 2.11 ERA), who takes the bump on Friday. No. 2 starter Tyler Buffett is coming along. Saturday against Texas, he only gave up one run and one hit in 4 2/3 innings, which resulted in a no-decision. On April 19 against Kansas, Buffett gave up two unearned runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. Buffett said the pitching staff is trusting itself more.

“We’re trying to get to being more of the center of the team and build on that,” Buffett said. “We are really just staying within ourselves.”

Holliday said his starting pitching has been doing well down the stretch and not just the top of the rotation.

“(Wednesday against Wichita State) was really exciting for us with (Tyler) Nurdin and Garrett Williams having good outings. Perrin has been outstanding. Tyler Buffett has done a nice job.”

Offensively, the Cowboys have gotten a spark from third baseman Craig McConaughy. In last weekend’s series against Texas, he went 6 for 11 with four runs scored, three RBIs, a double and his first career home run. The third baseman said he hopes his strong hitting continues against the Sun Devils.

“I’m ready to get a piece of these guys since they got a piece of us last time,” McConaughy said. “Definitely excited to have a big weekend and get the Allie P. packed up and get rocking again.”

Holliday said McConaughy has hit well all season and really came alive last weekend.

“Last weekend stood out with the home run,” Holliday said. “He had six or seven hits and did really good for us. He’s been really key in our last few wins.”

Oklahoma State enters Friday’s opener coming off its fifth straight Big 12 series win and a 3-0 shutout against Wichita State Wednesday. McConaughy said he hopes the momentum continues this weekend.

“We are meshing together,” McConaughy said. “We are a very confident baseball team right now. So it’s fun being out there right now.”

Game 2 is at 3 p.m. Saturday and the finale is at noon on Sunday.

Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for the Stillwater News Press

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