Tues., April 11 • 6 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 23-10 overall and atop the Big 12 standings with a 7-5 conference mark. The Cowboys open a five-game homestand Tuesday night against Oral Roberts before a weekend showdown with West Virginia beginning Friday.
• 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 385-209-2 at his alma mater. The Cowboys have earned an NCAA Region berth each year under his watch.
About Oral Roberts
• ORU is 23-10 overall and coming off a three-game series sweep at Omaha.
• Ryan Folmar is in his 11th season as ORU’s head coach and owns a 342-220 career record. Folmar was a four-year letterwinner at Oklahoma State as a catcher from 1994-97
• OSU is 37-39 all time against ORU, including a 5-11 mark under Josh Holliday. Last season, the two teams split a pair of midweek games, with each winning on the other's home field.
• ORU is expected to start Joshua Caravalho on the mound against the Cowboys. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA in eight appearances (six starts) and has 20 Ks and 17 BB in 33.1 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 week No. 18 in the official NCAA RPI; ORU is 92nd.
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 eighth in the NCAA with 351 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 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings this season is tops in the Big 12 and ranks 10th 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 .300 team batting average, which is 48th nationally.
• Five regulars in the OSU starting lineup are hitting at least .300. Garrett Benge leads the way with a .371 average that ranks fifth in the Big 12, while Nolan Schubart's .358 average ranks ninth in the league.
• OSU's 77 doubles rank ninth nationally, 11 behind NCAA leader Virginia.
• The Pokes have smashed a Big 12-best 61 home runs, which ranks eighth nationally. Fourteen 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.
OSU is 88-56 (.611) in one-run games under Josh Holliday, including a 4-1 mark this season, and 98 of the Cowboys’ 209 losses under Holliday (47 percent) have come by two runs or less.
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 .319 and ranks in the top five in the Big 12 in home runs (8), walks (30), total bases (82) and slugging percentage (.689).
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 .371 batting average to go along with four homers, 10 doubles and 23 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.
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 15 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 2.86 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings. He is fourth in the conference in ERA and fourth in opponent batting average at .187.
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.