1. Although Fayetteville and Stillwater aren't too far apart, I'm not sure many Razorback fans know a lot about Cowboy baseball. Obviously OSU is a good club, but what does this team do well and what's a weakness one of these teams could take advantage of?
This team does a lot of things right and very little wrong. I know that can sound homer-ish, I'm completely aware of that. But I'm probably one of the most pessimistic guys in this fanbase and would completely admit to anything. However, the one weakness I can think of is one that, when exposed, can ruin an entire game. We saw it happen in the Big 12 Championship game against Texas in the eighth inning. Three errors, all stupid errors that were caused by trying to rush through routine plays. The Cowboys will do that from time to time, but their bats are strong enough to get back into it.
Another weakness is something you won't see often, but does exist. The bullpen is one of the strongest in the conference and an easy candidate for top 20 at least. But, if the other team can get into the head of some pitchers, start to string together hit after hit, the Cowboys could begin to fall. Basically, opposing teams should look to get into the pitchers head or hope for some big errors.
2. While we're on the subject of our campuses not being too terribly far apart, for Razorback fans making the trip, possibly for the first time, what kind of atmosphere should they expect this weekend?
I'll talk about two kinds of atmospheres here. One, the actual atmosphere. It's supposed to rain, a lot, and it has been all month. Now for the game type stuff. The fans are great, I haven't really heard any of our baseball fans be rude or nasty to opposing fans, but baseball tends to be a little better behaved than say football or basketball. There's no beer in the stadium, so tailgating should be pretty alive, not as much as I'd personally like but it'll be decent. If you're of legal drinking age, I'd hit the strip. It's got deals every night of the week and weekend, not terribly expensive. Eskimo Joes will obviously be packed so if you can't make it, don't worry, the food isn't so great as to wait for two hours, it's more of the atmosphere that gets people in.
The stadium is beautiful, though it is old, and last I checked, tickets are becoming rare to find, so if you haven't gotten on that, do it.
3. Andrew Benintendi, Collegiate Baseball's NPOY, is undoubtedly the guy in Arkansas' lineup. Is there one guy in the Cowboy order Dave Van Horn and the Hogs should worry about, or is it more offense by committee?
The whole offense. Everyone has the ability to go yard or hit a clutch single or double at any time. Gage Green plays outfield and catcher but can get on base by a bunt, steal second and be hit in from Corey Hassel, who can also pitch. The team has ridiculous amount of offensive weapons. Sometimes it may be Tim Arakawa hitting singles all day and others it'll be Ryan Sluder with three doubles. It should be interesting to see what happens and who steps up this weekend.
4. Often in postseason play, games come down to quality pitching depth. What should the three other teams in the regional expect to see from OSU on the mound?
If it's me calling the pitching lineup, it goes in this order:
1(SJU)- Jon Perrin. Perrin is a solid pitcher, but sometimes he'll let some early runs hurt him. If he can get through the first four innings unscratched or even just allowing one run, the game is a win.
2) ORU/Arkansas - Freeman. Freeman was on the Golden Spikes Award list, as your guy is still on the list (if he's already won, sorry, haven't been able to keep up with it). If OSU plays ORU, Freeman should be here, OSU lost both of its midweek match ups with ORU during the regular season.
Those would be the two starters I go with. The third is a throw up because Josh Holliday is always changing it. The bullpen though, if need be used, is what can be dangerous. Look for Nurdin, Cobb or Glover to come in late innings if needed, they all have the ability to keep teams from scoring.
5. Finally, how do you see this regional playing out? Who advances to a super regional, and why?
It's a very tough regional to pick. I think OSU and Arkansas advance in the first round, setting up a OSU/Arkansas game that we all know every one wants. If Freeman pitches, I take OSU. Freeman is one of the few pitchers in the nation to win 10+ games, go 100+ innings and had four complete games in Big 12 plays while notching more than 90 strikeouts. The man is on fire and I don't know who can stop him right now. After that it'd be an Ark/ORU rematch, I'll take Arkansas again. I'm very 50/50 on the champion. But I'll go with OSU simply because I have don't know if Holliday loses another regional at his home field. I do think it will come down to the Razorbacks and Cowboys though and it will be a tough fight to make it to the super regional.