OSU's Sluder, Freeman Take Weekly Big 12 Awards
STILLWATER - A pair of Oklahoma State Cowboys were honored by the Big 12 Conference today as Ryan Sluder was named the Big 12 Player of the Week while Michael Freeman captured Big 12 Pitcher of the Week accolades for games played March 24-29.
Sluder's honor marks the first of his career, while Freeman joins select company by repeating as the league's Pitcher of the Week and earning the award for the third time this season. Freeman, who also received the honor on March 2 and March 23, is one of just 15 pitchers in Big 12 history to garner the accolade three or more times in the same season and the only OSU hurler to do so. He also becomes the 10th pitcher in conference history to win the award in consecutive weeks, joining Matt Smith (1998) as the only other Cowboy to do that.
Sluder helped carry the 12th-ranked Cowboys to a 3-1 week as the sophomore outfielder led the Big 12 in hitting with a .667 batting average, going 8-for-12 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a home run.
An Amarillo, Texas native, Sluder hit safely in all four games to extend his career-long hitting streak to 11 games. He scored three runs, collected three RBIs, a walk and a stolen base and turned in a slugging percentage of 1.083.
In the series win over Kansas State, Sluder was 7-for-9 (.778) at the plate to go along with a
1.222 slugging percentage. He tallied 11 total bases with a double, homer and three RBIs.
Saturday's win over the Wildcats saw Sluder go 4-for-4 at the plate, with the four hits setting a career high. He also recorded his first-career home run, a two-run blast. In Sunday's series-clinching finale, his RBI single in the seventh inning proved to be the game winner as it broke a 1-1 tie in a game OSU won 4-1.
Sluder's hot week saw him raise his season batting average 77 points from .241 to .318.
Freeman continued his dominance on the mound as he recorded a complete-game win in Sunday's series-clinching 4-1 win over Kansas State, a victory that gave OSU its program-record ninth consecutive Big 12 series win.
A senior southpaw, Freeman went 8 1/3 innings without allowing a hit before surrendering a pair of singles in the ninth. He issued only one walk, and the one run he allowed was unearned as the result of an error and a passed ball.
Freeman opened the game by hitting the leadoff batter but then retired 15-straight Wildcats, 12 of those via ground balls and three by strikeout.
In the ninth, K-State's only two hits in the game brought the tying run to the plate, but Freeman recorded his sixth strikeout of the day to end it. Freeman threw 122 pitches in the contest, 84 of those for strikes.
Freeman recorded 20 ground ball outs, six strikeouts and one fly out as he improved to 5-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.32.
With his effort, Freeman became the first Cowboy pitcher since All-American Andrew Heaney in 2012 to toss back-to-back complete games.