OSU Baseball: Time For The Champs To Move On

It was after 10 p.m. Saturday and the Bedlam series had wrapped up with Oklahoma taking it 8-1 from the Cowboys, who just 24 hours earlier had been celebrating clinching of the school's first regular season conference championship since winning the Big Eight in Gary Ward's last season as head coach in 1996.

The Cowboys used six pitchers, including three freshmen, in the loss. They emptied the dugout with 15 position players making an appearance. So is this a game where with the championship claimed the Cowboys exhaled?

"OU played good today. They did a nice job and came out in the first inning, got on us and made a couple of clutch hits. We made a mistake or two but they created an inning and jumped a four-spot on us," said Cowboys head coach Josh Holliday. "That's a strong push early in a game, and we never could quite get anything going."

Okay, that was saying the right things when Josh Holliday and second baseman Tim Arakawa stepped into the post-game media session. But the Cowboys had a 12-game consecutive win streak and had beaten the Sooners on Thursday and Friday night with another meeting coming next Wednesday in their first game of the Big 12 Tournament at 4 p.m. in the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

Maybe you want to bring your team back down and push a little extra hunger, right?

"We came out ready to play but didn't play well enough to win, and they did," Holliday added. "That's a good, very capable ball club we were playing, and it was just one of those days."

One of those days (or nights) to ensure that next Wednesday is one of those days like Thursday or Friday of the Bedlam series. You see the regular season has been conquered, but it is over. The value has been established and the celebrations have been completed.

"That part of the year is done now and we're proud of what we've done and it can provide confidence," Holliday said of the 41-14 record that has left Oklahoma State in just about everybody's top 10 (c'mon man to Baseball America) and unfortunately at number 21 in the projected RPI ratings.

"We've got to roll up our sleeves and get ready for the next portion of our season which is the Big 12 Tournament."

It's a transitional time for the Cowboys and one their coach is completely used to making, so is pitching coach Rob Walton and third base coach Marty Lees. I think you can throw in some of the veterans on the club that get it, even though they haven't done it much. In the old glory days of Cowboys baseball, days Holliday and Walton experienced, there was a transition in postseason and after classes were done.

"It's a phase of the year that has tremendous challenges to it and these kids have done a tremendous job," Holliday said speaking of the regular season. "We have some really tough, grinding players that have stayed on their feet and competed from start to finish.

"You talk to other coaches across the country and you share or hear the frustrations and issues that they face with their teams. You realize how lucky you are to have kids that do everything you ask of them and show up every day and are coachable and listen and trust in one another. I'm grateful to those kids for what they've given us as coaches and to the program.

"We have to adjust to the tournament-style format and get used to being on the road and in hotels and preparing in a non-traditional manner because you don't always get to take BP (batting practice) on the field and all the other things you do in a traditional manner," Holliday continued in discussing the next week and future weeks, except it sure seems that the Cowboys will be back in Stillwater for one week after the Big 12 Tournament. "There is some opportunity for us to get used to a new routine for the postseason."

Here is a list of the players the Cowboys will really count on to move through the Big 12, the regional, hopefully, the super regional, and perhaps, on to Omaha.

Position Players
C/OF Gage Green .330 with 14 doubles, 3 home runs, and 28 RBIs
OF/DH Zach Fish .321 with 13 doubles, 10 home runs, and 38 RBIs
SS Donnie Walton .287 with 13 doubles, 3 home runs, and 31 RBIs
1B Tanner Krietemeier .266 with 9 home runs and 38 RBIs
2B Tim Arakawa .264 with 4 home runs and 39 RBIs
OF Conor Costello .232 with 10 doubles, 5 home runs, and 16 RBIs
3B Craig McConaughy .325 with 19 RBIs
OF Saulyer Saxon .292 with 22 RBIs
OF/DH Ryan Sluder .284 with 7 RBIs
C Bryan Case .226 with 10 RBIs
OF Aaron Cornell .222 with 5 RBIs
1B/DH Dustin Williams .224 with 3 home runs and 21 RBIs
OF/DH Garrett Williams .222 with a home run and 7 RBIs

Pitchers (15 or more appearances or 5 or more starts)
Jon Perrin, 7-3, 1.81 era, 84.2 inn pitched, 74 hits, 24 walks, 72 K's
Vince Wheeland, 8-0, 1.32 era, 68 inn pitched, 45 hits, 12 walks, 34 K's
Brendan McCurry, 5-0, 0.45 era, 40 inn pitched, 26 hits, 7 walks, 45 K's
Tyler Buffett, 2-1, 2.30 era, 47 inn pitched, 37 hits, 22 walks, 28 K's
Blake Battenfield, 2-0, 1.52 era, 47.1 inn pitched, 38 hits, 16 walks, 31 K's
Alex Hackerott, 3-1, 3.86 era, 21 inn pitched, 18 hits, 7 walks, 21 K's
Garrett Williams, 4-1, 5.17 era, 38.1 inn pitched, 36 hits, 27 walks, 46 K's
Thomas Hatch, 2-2, 5.75 era, 40 inn pitched, 44 hits, 16 walks, 33 K's
Tyler Nurdin, 4-3, 6.26 era, 46 inn pitched, 59 hits, 31 walks, 28 K's

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