Fri., April 14 • 6 p.m. / Sat., April 15 • 6 p.m. / Sun., April 16 • 12 p.m.
O'Brate Stadium (8,000) • Stillwater, Okla.
Video/TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
(Dave Hunziker & Tom Holliday)
Radio: 93.7 KSPI FM (Rex Holt & Matt Davis)
The Varsity Network - okla.st/GetVarsity
Live Stats: okstate.statbroadcast.com
Twitter In-Game Updates: @OSUBaseball
About Oklahoma State
• OSU is 23-11 overall and tied for second in the Big 12 standings with a 7-5 conference mark. The Cowboys return to conference action at home this weekend when they host West Virginia.
• The Cowboys are coming off a 42-22 season in 2022 in which they made their ninth consecutive NCAA Regional appearance. OSU finished tied for second in the Big 12 standings with a 15-9 conference mark, one game out of first place.
• OSU was the No. 7 national seed in last year's NCAA Championship, the program's highest ever tourney seeding, and was an NCAA Regional host for the fourth time under Josh Holliday; the Pokes advanced to the NCAA Regional finals for the sixth time under Holliday.
• Led by Nolan McLean and Roc Riggio, OSU returns six position starters and 13 letterwinners from '22.
• The 2023 season is OSU’s 11th under head coach Josh Holliday, who is 385-210-2 at his alma mater. The Cowboys have earned an NCAA Region berth each year under his watch.
About West Virginia
• WVU is 23-10 overall and fifth in the Big 12 standings with a 3-3 league mark.
• Randy Mazey is in his 11th season as WVU’s head coach and owns a 319-240 career record. Mazey also has head coaching stints at Charleston Southern and East Carolina and has 505 career wins.
• OSU is 22-13 all time against WVU, including a 19-13 mark under Josh Holliday. Last season, the Pokes claimed a series victory in Morgantown with wins in the opener and the finale.
• WVU's starting pitching rotation vs. the Cowboys is expected to be:
Friday: LHP Ben Hampton — 2-1, 4.05 ERA in eight starts; 47 K, 18 BB in 46.2 IP
Saturday: RHP Blaine Traxel — 5-3, 3.25 ERA in eight starts; 44 K, 10 BB in 61.0 IP
Sunday: RHP Robby Porco — 4-1, 6.56 ERA in 10 appearances (two starts); 30 K, 16 BB in 23.1 IP
OSU was ranked as high as No. 8 in the preseason national polls, receiving that ranking from USA TODAY Sports. This week, the Cowboys are ranked No. 14 by Baseball America, 16th by USA TODAY Sports, 17th by the NCBWA, 18th byD1Baseball and Collegiate Baseball and 19th by Perfect Game.
OSU has been nationally ranked for 46 consecutive weeks dating back to the 2021 preseason polls. The Cowboys reached No. 2 twice in 2022, marking their highest-ever ranking under Josh Holliday.
From March 4, 2013 to April 3, 2017, a streak of 77 consecutive weeks, OSU was ranked in at least one national poll. During that time, the Cowboys spent 18 weeks in the Top 10, climbing as high as No. 3. They have finished in the top 10 in the final polls twice under Josh Holliday — 10th in 2014 and fourth in 2016.
Oklahoma State enters the weekend No. 32 in the official NCAA RPI; West Virginia is 39th.
The 2022 OSU pitching staff shattered the program record for strikeouts in a season with 679, besting the previous mark by 91.
The Cowboys' 679 strikeouts ranked fifth nationally, and they ranked seventh in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.7.
With an influx of new arms, this year's staff has continued to pile up Ks. The Cowboys lead the Big 12 and rank seventh in the NCAA with 364 strikeouts, and they have three pitchers — Juaron Watts-Brown, Ben Abram and Isaac Stebens — in the top 10 in the conference in punchouts.
OSU's 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season is tops in the Big 12 and ranks ninth nationally.
Cowboys Who Rake
OSU's offense is putting up some impressive numbers at the plate.
• The Cowboys rank second in the Big 12 with a .299 team batting average.
• Five regulars in the OSU starting lineup are hitting at least .300. Garrett Benge leads the way with a .380 average that ranks fourth in the Big 12, while Nolan Schubart's .364 average ranks sixth in the league.
• OSU's 80 doubles rank eighth nationally, 13 behind NCAA leader Virginia.
• The Pokes have smashed a Big 12-best 63 home runs, which ranks seventh nationally. Fifteen players have homered, and Roc Riggio leads the team with 10 round trippers to rank second in the league.
• OSU's .543 slugging percentage leads the Big 12 and is 10th nationally.
• The Cowboys have posted five run-rule wins this season.
Roc Rolled — And He's Doing It Again
Roc Riggio enjoyed a Freshman All-American season in 2022, starting 53 games for the Cowboys and hitting .295 with 11 home runs, 14 doubles and 47 RBIs.
The second baseman caught fire at the plate in the postseason and was named to the all-tournament team at both the Big 12 Baseball Championship and the NCAA Stillwater Regional. In 10 games, he hit .458 (22-for-48) with six doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs.
Riggio is swinging a hot bat once again in 2023. He's hitting .323 and ranks in the top five in the Big 12 in home runs (10), total bases (85) and slugging percentage (.685).
Random Fact: As an eighth grader, Riggio committed to play baseball at UCLA.
Nolan McLean isn't the only two-way standout for the Cowboys as Carson Benge has become a force at the plate and on the mound in his first collegiate season.
After redshirting last season to rehab following Tommy John surgery, Benge has been a constant in the OSU lineup as both a right-fielder and DH, and he leads the team with a .380 batting average to go along with five homers, 10 doubles and 25 RBIs. He is the Pokes' leading hitter in Big 12 play with a .442 batting average, and his 12 RBIs in league games are also tops on the club.
On the mound, Benge has made five starts and is 1-1 with 14 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings. He picked up the first win of his career in a midweek outing against Wichita State in which he allowed just one run and struck out a career-high five in five innings of work.
Random Fact: Carson's older brother, Garrett, was a two-time All-Big 12 infielder for the Cowboys in 2016 and 2017.
Freshman Swinging A Hot Bat
In his first collegiate season, Nolan Schubart has proven to be a powerful addition to the OSU lineup.
The left-handed hitting outfielder is second on the team with a .364 batting average, which ranks sixth in the Big 12, and the Michigan native is in the top 10 in the league in home runs (8), RBIs (34), walks (29), doubles (12), total bases (76), on-base percentage (.500) and slugging percentage (.691).
Schubart has reached base safely in 24-straight games, the longest streak by a Cowboy this season.
Random Fact: Schubart was originally committed to play at Michigan before a coaching change there led to him signing with the Cowboys.
Meet The New Guy
OSU bolstered its pitching staff with the addition of transfer Juaron Watts-Brown, who has emerged as a standout in the Cowboys' weekend rotation.
Watts-Brown picked up his first win in an OSU uniform against Austin Peay as he recorded eight strikeouts for the second consecutive game. He moved to 2-0 with a 13-strikeout performance vs. Utah Tech and notched his third win with another 13 K effort, this one against Baylor.
Against Texas, Watts-Brown tossed a season-high eight innings and struck out 12 while allowing just one run on three hits in a 128-pitch effort to move to 4-1 on the year.
The righty leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 73 strikeouts, and his 14.18 strikeouts per nine innings is eighth in the NCAA. He is third in the league in opponent batting average at .177 to go along with a 3.30 ERA that ranks sixth; his 46 1/3 innings pitched are the third most in the conference.
Watts-Brown transferred to OSU after earning Freshman All-America honors at Long Beach State last season. He went 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA in 15 appearances, including 12 starts, for the Dirtbags and racked up 111 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings.
During the month of May, Watts-Brown went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 33 innings, and he posted double-digit strikeout games in four of his last five starts of the season.
Watts-Brown’s first collegiate season also saw him toss the first complete game no-hitter in LBSU history, and he set the school record for strikeouts per nine innings in a season with 13.62.
Random Fact: Watts-Brown was named the West Yosemite League Player of the Year in baseball, football and basketball during his prep career at Hanford High School; he played quarterback on the gridiron and forward in hoops.
A pair of hometown hurlers have stepped up for the Cowboys this season.
Southpaw Drew Blake picked up the win in relief in the season opener vs. Missouri as the redshirt freshman worked two shutout innings in relief. Blake's 16 appearances are tied for second in the Big 12.
Blake had a career-best performance in the series finale and series-clinching win vs. Texas as he tossed four shutout innings and allowed just one hit while striking out five.
Isaac Stebens tossed four scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his debut against Vanderbilt, then worked two more shutout frames with four Ks in the combined no-hitter against Cal Baptist.
A righty in his first season at OSU after a JUCO All-American career at Cowley County CC, Stebens is 4-0 with a pair of saves, a 2.78 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings. He is third in the conference in ERA, fourth in opponent batting average at .189 and fifth in strikeouts.
Stebens earned his first-career save in the second game of the Texas series and also notched a save in the series opener vs. TCU.
Random Fact: Blake's dad, Randy, was teammates with Josh Holliday on the Stillwater High School football team in the mid-1990s; Holliday was the Pioneers' quarterback, and Blake starred at wide receiver.