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May 31, 2013

Pitching could be key for OSU in Louisville

Stillwater —

During Monday’s NCAA Division I Baseball Championship selection show, an ESPNU analyst pegged the Louisville Regional — in which Oklahoma State University will be the three seed and open against Miami (Fla.) today at 1:05 p.m. — as the best regional for pitching.

When talking about the talented arms, the analyst referenced OSU’s top two starters — Friday night starter Jason Hursh and Saturday lefty Tyler Nurdin. What’s most impressive of the weekend pitchers for the Cowboys isn’t necessarily the numbers — Nurdin with a starter-best 1.83 ERA with a 4-3 record and Hursh leading the Cowboys in strikeouts (84) and innings pitched (102).

What might be the most impressive is the fact that they, along with Sunday starter Mark Robinette, are even pitching this year.

All three of OSU’s weekend starters didn’t throw a single pitch a year ago, instead sitting out the 2012 campaign due to a variety of surgeries.

“Me and Jason always talked about it last year, joked about how we were going to come back stronger than we were before we got hurt,” said Nurdin, who underwent shoulder surgery. “We’re both from the DFW area and I’ve known Jason a long time and he’s a great pitcher. We worked really hard for what we have this year.”

The biggest boost to the rotation starts with the Friday night starter. After losing Andrew Heaney, the 2012 Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year and a first-round draft pick by the Miami Marlins, Hursh has given OSU that solid starter to open the weekend.

After pitching in 10 games as a freshman, Hursh underwent Tommy John surgery and redshirted last season. A sixth round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school, Hursh holds a 2.65 ERA with a 6-4 record — most wins of any Cowboy starter — and has seen personal growth not just from one year to the next, but within this season.

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