Around the Diamond: Big 12 Week 4 in Review

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

It was a strong week in Big 12 baseball land all the way around.

It was a better week in TCU baseball land this week, but for others, they saw streaks end.

A new leader in the standings has emerged, just days before conference play begins.

1. Oklahoma State (13-3). This week: 3-1.

Def: Loyola Marymount 2-1 (10), 4-3; Pacific 11-3

Lost: Loyola Marymount 5-2.

Oklahoma State overtook their in-state rival for the lead in the Big 12, but it's all moot as the conference schedule has yet to get under way. The Cowboys look strong headed into the last week before conference play.

Player of the Week: Jason Hursh went eight strong innings in the Friday opener against Loyola Marymount, that saw him strike out seven while only allowing one run. While that one run came in the eighth inning, and eventually forced the Cowboys into extras, Hursh's performance was incredible.

Next Week: March 15-17 vs. Iona (4 games); March 20 vs. Southeastern Oklahoma

2. #23 Oklahoma (14-4). This week: 3-2.

Def: UCLA 4-0; New Mexico State 8-0, 3-2

Lost: USC 5-3; Notre Dame 6-5 (11)

Oklahoma dropped a hard fought game against Notre Dame, giving up a pinch hit single in the 11th inning to lose it in tough fashion. Another loss on the weekend to USC, and Oklahoma is starting to realize what it's like to play against competent competition.

Player of the Week: Jonathan Gray got the marquis win for OU over the weekend, throwing seven scoreless innings against UCLA. He recorded eight strikeouts against the Bruins, while only walking one.

Next Week:March 15-17 vs. Northwestern State; March 19-20 vs. Oral Roberts

3. Kansas (11-5). This week: 5-0.

Def: Niagara 7-0, 3-2, 5-4, 11-4; Jackson State 11-0

It was a strong week for the Jayhawks, who cruised past Niagara and Jackson State by a total of 37-10. They've rocketed up the standings this week, to third, from sixth. Now, they head into conference play on a hot streak, facing off against the Horned Frogs.

Player of the Week: Michael Suiter went 11-18 over five games this week, scoring six runs and driving in four more.

Next Week: March 15-17 @ TCU

4. Texas (11-5). This week: 4-0.

Def: UC Santa Barbara 5-1, 3-2, 11-6; Oral Roberts 4-3.

Texas got back on track against UC Santa Barbara and Oral Roberts after a rough week last week. Strong performances all around led to this four game winning streak, and now Texas heads into conference play with some momentum.

Player of the Week: Corey Knebel pitched 3.2 innings in three separate appearances over the week, recording a win, a save, striking out eight and only allowing two hits.

Next Week: March 15-17 vs. Texas Tech; March 19 @ Houston

5. Texas Tech (12-7). This week: 4-1.

Def: UT-Arlington 8-3, 4-1; Utah Valley 9-2, 6-0

Lost: UT-Arlington 13-12

The Red Raiders couldn't complete the sweep of the Mavericks, losing in a shootout on Sunday, but they still have a good week heading into a series against the Longhorns. The loss was only their second at home on the season. If they can defend home field like that in conference play, they should be more than fine.

Player of the Week: Jake Barrios accounted for 13 runs in these five games, driving in eight and scoring five more himself. He went 7-17 from the plate for the week.

6. Kansas State (10-6). This week: 2-3.

Def: Cal Poly 10-4; Northern Colorado 11-0.

Lost: Cal Poly 13-10, 6-2; Northern Colorado 3-0

Kansas State was one of the only Big 12 teams to have a losing record this week. We can write off the losses to a good team like Cal Poly, but the loss to Northern Colorado should be concerning for a team that started out on fire.

Player of the Week: Pitcher Jake Dollar shut down No.Co. en route to recording his second win of the season. Dollar threw seven innings of one hit baseball while recording six strikeouts.

Next Week: March 15-17 vs. West Virginia; March 19-20 vs. Minnesota

7. TCU (7-9). This week: 4-1.

Def: Pacific 2-1, 3-2 (10); Northwestern State 9-2, 13-6

Lost: Pacific 5-3

TCU should have swept the series against Pacific, but couldn't quite manage to pull out the game on Saturday after fighting to tie things at 3 in the late innings. However, good signs on both sides of the ball, as the bats came alive against Northwestern State (with plenty of help from their pitchers) and the arms generally had things under control.

Player of the Week: Cody Jones accounted for seven TCU runs in their 13-6 win over Northwestern State, driving in five while going 2-2 from the plate and scoring both times he got on base.

Next Week: March 15-17 vs. Kansas; March 19 vs. UT-Arlington (at the Ballpark in Arlington).

8. West Virginia (7-9). This week: 1-3.

Def: Pitt 8-7

Lost: Central Michigan 4-1; Maine 2-1 (12); Iowa 6-4 (12)

Two extra inning losses has to be a blow to the Mountaineers' morale, but this team is doing about what we all thought they would.

Player of the Week: Matt Frazer kept West Virginia's losing streak from getting any longer by going 4-5 against Pitt with two home runs and five RBI.

Next Week: March 15-17 @ Kansas State; March 19 @ Marshall

9. Baylor (7-10). This week: 0-4.

Lost: Illinois 4-3, 5-4 (11), 6-1; Houston 5-3.

The Bears are reeling after being swept by a mediocre Big 10 team and then dropping a game to Houston. They're desperately looking for something to right the ship.

Player of the Week: Nope, you don't get one Bears.

Next Week: March 15-16 vs. New Orleans, Houston (in Houston); March 19-20 vs. Sam Houston State (home & home).

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