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Cowboys brace for Big 12 opener

Conor Gore (16) and Nolan McLean (13) celebrate during the Cowboys' 10-6 win over Vanderbilt at Cecil O'Brate Stadium on Sunday in Stillwater. [Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics]
Conor Gore (16) and Nolan McLean (13) celebrate during the Cowboys' 10-6 win over Vanderbilt at Cecil O'Brate Stadium on Sunday in Stillwater. [Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics]

After a win over Oral Roberts earlier in the week, Oklahoma State suffered its first two losses of the season to baseball titan Vanderbilt. Oklahoma got back on track with a hot streak from Tyler Hardman, who hit for the cycle on a perfect Sunday.

Here’s a look at how last week went for the Cowboys and Sooners and what’s in store this week:

Are we there yet?

No. 14 Oklahoma State finally met its match last weekend, a series loss to the powerhouse program that is second-ranked Vanderbilt.

The previously undefeated Cowboys dropped Saturday’s doubleheader by a combined score of 23-4, before getting back on track with a 10-6 win on Sunday.

An event that was surely circled on the schedule for the Cowboys, Vanderbilt has come on as the team to beat in baseball over the last decade. The Commodores have appeared in three College World Series' in the past seven years, coming away with two wins in 2014 and 2019.

In the first game, the OSU pitching staff held the Commodores to just five runs. The Cowboys, who were averaging more than six runs per game, couldn’t get the bats going and dropped its first game 5-0.

In the second game, the Cowboys found their bats, but the pitching staff struggled, giving up 18 runs on 14 hits. Justin Wrobleski took the loss.

Hardman hits the cycle in hot streak

Oklahoma first baseman Tyler Hardman had himself a weekend, hitting for the cycle and batting a perfect 8-for-8 in his first two games against Arkansas State.

The redshirt junior was an offensive juggernaut at the plate in the series opener, going 5-for-5 with a team-high four RBIs in the loss. He hit for the cycle and scored three times, once on a home run.

In order, Hardman homered, doubled, singled and tripled in the 15-14 loss.

"Tyler is one of the captains of our club, and his work ethic speaks for itself," Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson said. "It was good to see that he put that work in, and it paid off. He works extremely hard at his craft and he's gotten a lot better, and he's going to continue to get better."

In Sunday’s late game, Hardman finished 3-for-3 and tacked on four more scores.

Sooners back on track with series win

After a slow start to the season, OU got back on track Monday with a 12-6 win over Arkansas State that clinched a series win and put them back over .500.

The Sooners broke the game open by scoring five runs in the fourth inning. Diego Muniz singled, and an error allowed Brett Squires to score the inning’s opening run. Brandon Zaragoza brought Muniz in with a line drive to center, and Zaragoza scored on a balk.

Ben Abram picked up the win. Dalton Fowler opened up the game with six strikeouts.

OU’s Luke Taggart closed the game with two solid innings of work.

Mathis, McLean shine in Cowboy win

After struggling to generate offense on Saturday, Brock Mathis and Nolan McLean combined to plate seven Cowboys in a 10-6 Sunday win.

McLean finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. He also accounted for two of the Cowboys four home runs.

Brock Mathis doubled OSU’s lead in the second inning with a three-run shot to left field. The Cowboys scored six runs on six hits in the inning to take a commanding lead.

Vanderbilt scored four runs in the seventh inning but was held off by relief pitcher Trevor Martin. Bryce Osmond picked up the win to move to 2-0 on the season and get OSU back in the win column.

OU

So far this season: 8-7

Last week: 3-1 (Beat Texas-Arlington 15-5; lost to Arkansas State 15-14; beat Arkansas State 9-1, 12-6)

This week: at Arkansas, 5 p.m. Tuesday; vs. Houston, 6:30 p.m. Friday; vs. Houston, 2 p.m. Saturday; vs. Houston, 12 p.m. Sunday.

OSU

So far this season: 11-2-1

Last week: 2-2 (beat Oral Roberts 5-0; lost to Vanderbilt 5-0, 18-4; beat Vanderbilt 10-6)

This week: vs. UL Monroe, 6 p.m. Tuesday; at Texas Tech, 6:30 p.m. Friday; at Texas Tech, 2 p.m. Saturday; at Texas Tech, 2 p.m. Sunday.

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