After a phenomenal close to the season, regional play is back at O’Brate park. While Cowboy fans are ecstatic to be hosting again, there is still a sour taste in mouth of fans after the end of last season.
In 2022, the Arkansas Razorbacks stormed into the Stillwater regional and trounced the pokes with their explosive offense. The pokes certainly did not back down (29 runs in three games), but Arkansas was able to call the hogs on home and escape a hostile environment, defeating OSU in two of three games.
When asked about the upcoming regional, OSU Head Coach Josh Holiday was short and sweet. “We play in a great conference that prepares us for this sort of thing.”
The Cowboys will attempt to ride the momentum they built over the course of the regular season. You want to be playing your best baseball at this time of the year, and OSU believes they are following that trajectory. They ended the season with a nice showing in the Big 12 tournament, defeating OU once and Texas Tech twice to make the championship game, only to fall short to TCU.
While the pokes get the luxury of hosting, their opponents could prove to be an immense challenge. Joining OSU in the Stillwater regional is Dallas Baptist, Oral Roberts and Washington. If you watch any preview for this region, you are sure to hear this stat multiple times:
Oklahoma State is just 1-3 combined this season against the combo of DBU and ORU. If you are a Cowboy supporter, don’t stress too much, as all of these games happened during mid-week, meaning OSU was not pitching its top of the line starters.
Nonetheless, these squads have proven they can beat not just OSU, but other Big 12 opponents as well. DBU defeated OU and Baylor during the regular season, while ORU was able to take down OSU once.
Though ORU and DBU are considered mid majors, the Washington Huskies seem to be the most unknown team in the region. The Huskies did not play a strong non-conference, but benefited from the Pac 12 claiming numerous ranked teams throughout the season. Washington may be falling into a bit of a downward spiral as they lost their last series of the year to Cal and finished 1-2 in the Pac 12 tournament.
OSU will open regional play on Friday against Oral Roberts. That will be the late game of the night, as Washington and Dallas Baptist start off the day. The winner of this regional will take on the winner of the Nashville regional, hosted by recent powerhouse Vanderbilt. The rest of that region includes Oregon, Xavier and Eastern Illinois, making Vandy a popular pick to advance.
Josh Holiday and the Cowboys are extremely pleased to be back at home for the regional, especially after their grueling road schedule to end the year. OSU closed the regular season with a three game series in Norman, then followed it up with their trip to the Big 12 tournament, where they played six hard fought games.
During his time with the media, Josh Holiday also stated he believed OSU was given the chance to host due to their strong showing in the Big 12 tournament. Even after falling short in the championship game, OSU looks to take advantage of playing at one of the nicer and rowdier ballparks in the country.
As the disappointment of last year still looms large, no one is happier than the Cowboys to have a shot at redemption. The Cowboys will likely turn to two-way star Nolan McLean to pitch against ORU. Don’t look past McLean’s ability to swing the bat for power as well.
The only thing more golden than the Eagles of ORU is the opportunity placed in front of OSU this weekend. Can they take advantage of it? We will find out on Friday.