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OSU Baseball: Benge/Heasley duo tabbed Big 12's best

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For the second time this season, Oklahoma State picked up a pair of Big 12 Conference baseball weekly awards as Garrett Benge was named the Big 12 Player of the Week and Jonathan Heasley earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors, it was announced by the league office today.

Benge also earned recognition as one of eight Collegiate Baseball National Players of the Week.

Benge continued swinging a hot bat as the junior third baseman led Oklahoma State to a 5-0 week that included a midweek series sweep of New Mexico and a weekend sweep of Northwestern State. Benge hit .471 (8-for-17), reaching base safely in all five games and leading the Cowboys with four home runs, 11 RBIs, six runs, 21 total bases and a 1.235 slugging percentage. He also added a double and four walks.

Against New Mexico, Benge was 5-for-8 at the plate and homered in both games while driving in four runs. In the second game of the series, he recorded a career-high four hits in five trips to the plate and also tied a career best with three RBIs.

Benge opened the series against Northwestern State by continuing his power surge as he blasted a pair of home runs - giving him homers in three-straight games - and set a new career high with four RBIs. He collected RBIs in each game of the series, giving him at least one RBI in all five games last week.

Benge's hot hitting saw him move into the top 10 in the Big 12 with a .356 batting average, and he now leads the conference in homers (5), RBIs (26), on-base percentage (.484) and slugging percentage (.658). He also ranks in the top 10 in the league in walks (18), hits (26) and total bases (48).

This marks the second time Benge has been honored as the Big 12 Player of the Week as he also earned that distinction on Feb. 27.

Heasley proved to be a valuable weapon for OSU in a pair of different roles last week as the freshman made a pair of appearances and picked up a win and a save. He struck out six in 7 2/3 innings and allowed only one run on one hit.

In OSU's midweek series opener against New Mexico, Heasley took the mound in the ninth with the tying run on deck in a 3-0 game and retired the only batter he faced for the game's final out as he picked up his team-leading third save of the season.

With several injuries in the starting rotation and with the Cowboys in the midst of a seven games in seven days stretch, Heasley was forced into duty as a starter in the second game of OSU's weekend series against Northwestern State. Having been used mostly as the Cowboys' closer this season, the start marked Heasley's team-high 10th appearance but just his second start. The right-hander was dominant in the starting role as he tossed 7 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on a solo home run in the fourth inning. He racked up a career-high six strikeouts in a 98-pitch effort that marked his most pitches since a 66-pitch outing in his only other start (2/21 at Arizona State). In his seven relief appearances since that start, Heasley had not thrown more than 27 pitches in a game.

Today’s honors mark the fourth and fifth Big 12 weekly awards for OSU this season. Along with Benge’s two honors, Carson Teel was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on March 13 while Travis Wacker collected Big 12 Newcomer of the Week accolades on Feb. 27.

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