Editor’s note: This is the final article in a nine-part series previewing the Big 12 2014 baseball season and looking at what each team brings to the diamond this season.
1. Oklahoma State Cowboys
2013 season record: 41-19 overall; 13-10 in the Big 12, 2nd place
Oklahona State has 651 wins in baseball, the second most in the Big 12 behind Texas (663), since the conference was formed in 1996. The Cowboys also have 22 regular-season conference championships (all in the Big Eight) in their history, but are still looking for their first in the Big 12.
The Cowboys entered the 2014 season with a No. 18 ranking in both the Collegiate Baseball and USA Today preseason college baseball polls. Oklahoma State won 41 games a year ago and could be even better this season with six position players back for another year. That includes the Cowboys’ best hitter last season, senior first-baseman/outfielder Tanner Kreitemeier. Kreitemeier lead the team with a .314 batting average, 72 hits and 43 runs batted in.
The Cowboys have four strong pitchers back for another season, including ace Tyler Nurdin, who posted a 5-3 record and a 1.89 ERA in 14 starts. OSU will also count on some quality starts from right-hander Mark Robinette (8-1, 3.58 ERA in 13 starts a year ago).
Oklahoma State has a lot of talent coming onto th team. The Cowboys were credited by several national recruiting services as having a top-five recruiting class in 2013.
Asked about his team’s expectations this season, second-year head coach Josh Holliday told Collegiate Baseball: “We have a nice mix of quality returners and talented newcomers.”
Oklahoma State got the 2014 season off to a strong start with three consecutive wins over last weekend and the championship of the University of Texas-Arlington-Hilton Invitational Tournament. OSU defeated Incarnate Word, Stephen F. Austin and the host school, UT-Arlington, in the championship final.
The Cowboys are off to a strong start to the 2014 season, winning 10 of their first 12 games and ranked 12th in the latest USA Today weekly poll. This weekend OSU is at home for a three-game series with San Diego.