Fish, Krietemeier Ready For Big 12 Play

Zach Fish

The Oklahoma State Cowboys take the proverbial turn from first base to second this week as they move from nonconference baseball action to Big 12 play after Wednesday's game against Southeastern. The Cowboys, 17-3, will host the Baylor Bears this coming weekend for a conference opening three-game series, pending cooperation from Mother Nature.

Oklahoma State tuned up for the Bears and the start of Big 12 play this weekend against an overmatched Iona team, outscoring the Gaels 43-1 in the four-game sweep that included two run-rule affairs.

In the process, Zach Fish, who is on fire, earned the Big 12 Player of the Week Award. Fish helped the Cowboys to a perfect 5-0 week as he led an offense that produced 54 runs in five outings.

The sophomore slugger turned in a .600 batting average (12-for-20) with a team-leading eight RBIs. He hit safely in all five games to extend a season-long hitting streak to 13 games. The Cowboys right fielder had multiple hits in four of the five games, including tying a career high with three hits in three of those contests, and also had three two-RBI games. He was 7-for-11 (.636) with runners in scoring position.

In his five-game tear, Fish tallied 20 total bases and turned in a 1.000 slugging percentage. He had at least one extra-base hit in four of the five games and finished with five doubles and a home run. Fish also led OSU with three stolen bases on three attempts and scored a team-high eight runs.

With his production last week, Fish raised his batting average to .392, which ranks eighth in the Big 12. He also ranks in the top 10 in the conference in hits, homers, doubles, RBIs, runs, total bases and slugging percentage.

"Last year I had a whole different approach at the plate than I do this year," said Fish. "This year it is more of a consistency thing. If you go back and look I didn't put much into play in right and right center and this year I am trying to hit the ball up the middle to right and right center.

"If they throw the ball in then it is likely going to be a mistake. I try to look for something over the plate where I can extend my hands and with guys in scoring position then I'm going to try to hit it to the right side and stuff like that will help me be more consistent," said Fish.

Earlier this season OSU first baseman Tanner Krietemeier, who is also hitting the ball really well for both average and power, was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. Like Fish, right now, Krietemeier has few complaints.

"I'm happy with the way things have been going," said Krietemeier. "I'm just trying to see the ball good and play hard and see where it goes."

It gets noticed when the schedule turns to conference play and this team is eager to prove that all the talk about a new era of baseball in Stillwater under new coach Josh Holliday and his veteran assistants including Rob Walton and Marty Lees is not just talk.

"I think we need to carry on what we've been doing into conference play," added the Cowboys regular first baseman. "We need to continue to play hard and trust each other and use the confidence that we have."

"I think we are because you play a team in UC-Davis from California that is a very good ballclub and you play New Mexico early that is a very good ballclub and I think we went out there and showed that we can play with anybody," Fish said of starting the conference play this week with Baylor.

"It all comes down to the way we've been coached, and I think this team has done a great job of deciding no matter hat the score is at the end of the game that we're going to get runs. I think we have great determination and fight in us for all nine innings and it doesn't matter who we play, a Big 12 team or a Division II team, we are going to fight.

"I'm really excited to get Big 12 play started to show people that we are better than they thought we would be."

The Cowboys are scheduled to play Southeastern at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and then the Baylor series is slated for 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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