One may be the loneliest number, according to the popular oldie by Three Dog Night, but the Oklahoma State baseball team would argue that is exactly the spot they want to be in come the end of the regular season. Looking at Big 12 baseball courtesy of the numbers, it appears that current perception is very, very close to becoming reality insofar as the Cowboys holding the winning lottery ticket for the 2014 conference crown.
Oklahoma State has a lead of a game and a half over second-place TCU entering Week 11 of the Big 12 baseball season. If the Cowboys can hold on the next three weeks, they will claim their first conference championship as a member of the Big 12. They have a long history of success, however, in the sport of baseball, including a College World Series title in 1959, runner-up five times and 40 NCAA Tournament appearances. Oklahoma State also owns 30 Big Eight regular-season championships, and was the Big 12 tournament champion in 2004.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the three conference teams with the highest staff ERAs and the most runs allowed are also the bottom three teams in the league standings: Baylor (staff ERA 3.72, 210 runs yielded), Oklahoma (4.05 ERA, 231 runs) and Kansas State (4.25 ERA, 211 runs). Those are the only three Big 12 teams that have allowed more than 200 runs this season.
Here are a dozen other noteworthy numbers that reflect on the state of Big 12 baseball and the 2014 season:
.30 – The difference between what Kansas State hit as a team last season in leading the conference with a batting average of .322 and this season, in which their batting average is a collective .292 through games of Sunday.
2 – Two Big 12 teams have a better conference record on the road this season than they do at home. Texas has won five of six away from home, but has only a 5-7 record when playing at home. Kansas is just 2-4 in home games in the Big 12, but the Jayhawks are 7-5 away from Hoglund Park.
4 – Four Big 12 teams rank in the nation’s top 20 in walks: 4. Oklahoma State (223), 10. Texas Tech (210), 16. Texas (201) and 19. Kansas State (199).
5 – Adam Kirsch, a senior outfielder for Texas Tech, has two five-hit games this season. He is the only player in the Big 12 this season to accomplish that feat twice.
9 – Oklahoma State is No. 9 this week in the National College Baseball Writers poll. That is the highest ranking for any Big 12 team this week in the national polls. Texas was ranked as high as No. 4 in the same poll two weeks ago. The Longhorns are ranked No, 10 currently, right behind the Cowboys.
10 – Texas Tech first baseman Eric Gutierrez leads the Big 12 with 10 home runs this season. Gutierrez has been named Big 12 Player of the Week twice in the last three weeks. He hit seven all of last season as a freshman.
12 – Shutouts by TCU this season, one shy of the Big 12 single-season record of 13 by Texas in 2011.
15 – TCU has won 15 of 16 games so far in the month of April. The Horned Frogs are on an eight-game winning streak and have one more game scheduled in April: on Tuesday at Stephen F. Austin.
84 – Texas senior Mark Payton extended his on-base streak to 84 games over the weekend. The streak dates back to the 2013 season. The Big 12 record for reaching base in consecutive games is 93, set by Kansas State’s Nick Martini over three seasons (2011-2013).
139 – Errors committed this season by Oklahoma (69) and Baylor (70) combined. That is 70 more than the two teams that have committed the fewest errors: Texas Tech (34) and West Virginia (35).
600 – Kansas’ 8-5 win over Baylor on Sunday not only gave the Jayhawks a sweep of their series but also gave Kansas head coach Ritch Price his 600th victory at the Division I level. The day before, Price reached the 1,000-win milestone in all three levels of the game he has coached in his career.
1,127 – Differential in wins between Texas head coach Augie Garrido (1,906 in 45 seasons) and Kansas State’s Brad Hill (779 in 20 seasons), No. 2 in the Big 12 in career head-coaching wins.