#15 Kansas State (31-18, 11-7) at #13 Oklahoma State (33-14, 11-7)
Fri., May 12 • 6 p.m. / Sat., May 13 • 6 p.m. / Sun., May 14 • 1 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 33-14 overall and tied for second in the Big 12 standings with an 11-7 conference mark. Up next, the Cowboys host Kansas State in a weekend series at O'Brate Stadium in their final home games of the regular season.
• 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 395-213-2 at his alma mater. The Cowboys have earned an NCAA Regional berth each year under his watch.
About Kansas State
• Kansas State is 31-18 on the season and tied with OSU for second in the Big 12 standings at 11-7.
• Pete Hughes is in his sixth season as K-State's head coach and owns a 129-110 career record. He also has head coaching stints at Boston College, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma and has over 700 career wins.
• OSU is 173-52 all time against K-State, including a 24-4 mark under Josh Holliday. Last season, the Cowboys won 2-of-3 against the Wildcats in Manhattan.
• K-State's starting pitching rotation vs. the Cowboys is expected to be:
Friday: LHP Owen Boerema — 6-1, 3.91 ERA in 12 starts; 80 K, 25 BB in 69.0 IP
Saturday: RHP German Fajardo — 3-2, 5.52 ERA in 13 starts; 51 K, 28 BB in 60.1 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. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, 20th by Baseball America, 22nd by USA TODAY Sports and Perfect Game and 23rd by the NCBWA.
OSU has been nationally ranked for 50 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. 21 in the official NCAA RPI; K-State is 55th.
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 15th in the NCAA with 486 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 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings this season is tops in the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally.
Cowboys Who Rake
OSU's offense is putting up some impressive numbers at the plate.
• The Cowboys are tied for second in the Big 12 with a .305 team batting average.
• Six regulars in the OSU starting lineup are hitting at least .300. Roc Riggio leads the way with a .357 average that ranks seventh in the Big 12, while Tyler Wulfert is right behind him at .356.
• OSU's 119 doubles rank fifth nationally.
• The Pokes have smashed a Big 12-best 87 home runs, which ranks 17th nationally. Fifteen players have homered, and Roc Riggio leads the team with 16 round trippers to rank second in the league.
• OSU's .551 slugging percentage leads the Big 12 and is ninth nationally.
• The Cowboys have scored 398 runs (20th nationally) and tallied 491 hits on the season.
• OSU has posted six run-rule wins.
A Day For The Record Books
Nolan Schubart turned in a remarkable performance in the series finale against ETSU as he went 3-for-3 with three home runs, two of those grand slams, and 10 RBIs to go along with a pair of walks. That effort saw him reach several record marks, including:
• Tying the OSU record for homers in a game. It marked the 18th time in program history the feat has been achieved, and he is the 14th different Cowboy to hit the mark.
• Tying the OSU record for RBIs in a game, which was first set in 1993.
• Tying the Big 12 Conference record for grand slams in a game as he became the fourth league player to achieve the feat and first since 2018.
Nolan McLean's powerful bat was a fixture in the middle of the Cowboys' order in 2022, and he also emerged as OSU's closer. That combination led to him being named a Perfect Game All-American and a semifinalist for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
A native of North Carolina, McLean became the third player in OSU history to earn All-Big 12 honors at two different positions — he was named All-Big 12 First Team as a utility player, was an All-Big 12 Second Team selection as a relief pitcher and collected honorable mention All-Big 12 plaudits as an infielder.
McLean slugged a team-high 19 home runs and hit .285 with 16 doubles and 47 RBIs while spending the majority of his time at third base. He was OSU's second-leading hitter in Big 12 play, posting a .330 average to go along with seven homers and 20 RBIs.
On the mound, McLean made 23 relief appearances and posted a 2-1 record and five saves while recording 39 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings. Four of his saves came in league play.
McLean spurned professional baseball to return to Stillwater after being selected with the first pick of the third round of last July’s Major League Baseball Draft by the Baltimore Orioles.
In 2023, McLean picked up right where he left off before suffering a knee injury on April 1 against Texas that caused him to miss 18 games. Primarily an outfielder before the injury, he's hitting .281 with eight homers and 26 RBIs, while recording six saves, a 1.65 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.
Random Fact: McLean was a quarterback on the OSU football team during the 2020 season.
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 sports a .351 batting average to go along with seven homers, 13 doubles and 37 RBIs. He is the Pokes' second-leading hitter in Big 12 play with a .375 batting average, and he has 15 RBIs in league games.
On the mound, Benge has made eight starts and is 1-1 with 30 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. He earned the first win of his career in a midweek outing against Wichita State in which he allowed just one run and struck out five in five innings of work, and he racked up a career-high nine Ks in the May game vs. ORU.
Random Fact: Carson's older brother, Garrett, was a two-time All-Big 12 infielder for OSU in 2016-17.
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 22 appearances are tied for fourth 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 4-1 with six saves, a 2.66 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 47 1/3 innings. He is third in the conference in ERA, second in opponent batting average at .195 and 10th in strikeouts.
Stebens earned his first-career save in the second game of the Texas series and also notched saves in the series opener vs. TCU, the non-conference Bedlam game, in both wins at Michigan and vs. ETSU.
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.
Chase Adkison has been a mainstay behind the plate this season. After splitting time at catcher with Ian Daugherty over OSU's first five games (Daugherty started three of those), Adkison has been a rock at the position following an injury to Daugherty, and he has produced at the plate as well as defensively.
Adkison started 24 consecutive games at catcher (Feb. 25/Gm. 2-April 21) and 40 of OSU's last 42 contests behind the dish.
In 42 games, Adkison is hitting .319 with five homers, eight doubles and 30 RBIs. He owns a .995 fielding percentage and has thrown out 10 runners trying to steal.
Random Fact: Adkison owns and operates a business, The Glove Plug, where he buys, sells and trades baseball gloves on Instagram (@the_glove_plug_).
Tyler Wulfert battled injuries early in the season but has been a constant and productive force in the lineup over the last two months.
The Cowboy third baseman is OSU's leading hitter in Big 12 play with a .400 average, and he has posted six home runs, six doubles and 15 RBIs in league games.
Wulfert is hitting .356 on the season and of his 42 hits, 23 have gone for extra bases (8 HR, 13 2B, 3B) to produce a .703 slugging percentage.
Random Fact: Wulfert's dad, Mark, was an 11th-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 1995 MLB Draft and played two professional seasons for the Class A Clinton LumberKings.