Oklahoma State sends Tyler Buffett to the hill to face off with two-way star Bobby Dalbec of Arizona when the Cowboys take on the Wildcats tonight at 6:00 p.m. CT.
Buffett has turned two-straight quality starts into OSU wins this tournament, allowing just two runs in 14.0 innings against Clemson and South Carolina. Primarily a reliever in the regular season, Buffett’s 3.15 ERA is second on the team behind Thomas Hatch (1.89).
Dalbec starting for Arizona might be a bit of a blessing in disguise for the Cowboys. As a third baseman, Dalbec is currently riding a 10-game hitting streak with six multi-hit games. He’s the only player in Arizona history to post double digit homers (24), wins (16) and saves (14) in a career. On the mound this season he’s 10-4 with a 2.92 ERA and seven saves.
The Cowboy bats have cooled a little since they exploded in the Clemson regional. J.R Davis is hitting .385 since the tournament began at the leadoff spot and had scored in every game until Saturday’s 1-0 win against UCSB. Corey Hassell leads the team with 8 RBI and Conor Costello has been the Cowboys MVP at the plate hitting .522 for the tournament. Dustin Williams, OSU’s home run leader, hasn’t been able to get going in the middle of the lineup and Ryan Sluder has had a rough tournament at the plate going 3-for-20.
Pitching and defense comprise the foundation of this Oklahoma State team and Arizona is a similar club. The Wildcats beat Miami 5-1 on Saturday thanks to outstanding pitching from Nathan Bannister and three quick runs in the top of the first inning. Cody Ramer, Zach Gibbons and Ryan Aguilar are the biggest threats at the plate – Gibbons is 6-for-9 over the past two games and Ramer rides a 15-game hit streak.
With UCSB eliminating Miami earlier Monday, the loser of tonight's contest will face the Gauchos in an elimination game on Wednesday.