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Column: OSU’s lack of pitching depth is finally catching up to the team

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Looking at the big screen - a series

Trevor Martin looking up at the big screen from the bullpen

It was only a matter of time.

That time has finally come, Oklahoma State reached the end of its rope because of the lack of pitching depth across the team.

It’s not the matter of not having enough pitchers, a problem it had a couple of weeks ago when four different pitchers were injured, but instead a matter of the experience it lacks.

The pitchers the Cowboys have are talented, but when it comes to postseason a team needs bodies in the bullpen. With the possibility of at least three games in three days, depth in the lineup and bullpen are a necessity. In general the Cowboys normally use four bullpen arms on a regular basis: Brett Standlee, Mitchell Stone, Trevor Martin and Kale Davis.

Those four guys are the clear cut anchors of the bullpen, but four guys are thin for a postseason bound team. That showed in the Cowboys regional opening 14-4 loss to UC Santa Barbara. The Cowboys decided to leave in Justin Campbell for six innings despite allowing six earned runs, a season high, and striking out only two, a season low.

Campbell did keep fighting despite clearly not having his best stuff to the tune of 118 pitches in those six innings. Before Bryce Osmond, a normal starter, came in the game in relief.

“I think he was carrying a heavy burden on his shoulders trying to be perfect and maybe just wasn’t quite as relaxed and trusting of how good his stuff was, so we just need to play better as a team,” coach Josh Holliday said.

Credit does go toward UC Santa Barbara for finding a way to get to Campbell, whose steadiness at the mound earned him All-American status.

“They did a nice job,” Holliday said. “They did the best job anyone had done against him all year.”

The Cowboys as a team have a 4.41 ERA, which can be better, but could also be worse. The biggest thing with the bullpen, and pitching staff in general, is the youth.

The Cowboys have another game Saturday that will determine if their season ends or if they continue to fight. The bright side is they still have a full bullpen to utilize and senior Parker Scott likely getting the nod to start.

sports.ed@ocolly.com