Cowboys, Anteaters Set Pitching Plans

Earlier this week Oklahoma State head coach Josh Holliday and pitching coach Rob Walton weren't sure on their pitching plans. They needed to look at Cal-Irvine to try to anticipate what the Anteaters would do with their stretched out pitching after upsetting top seed Oregon State. Now those plans are set with Jon Perrin scheduled to start Friday night's first game of the Super Regional.

"Jon [Perrin] will pitch tomorrow and then we will play it one game at a time from there. Jon will pitch the first one," Holliday said Thursday afternoon after the Pokes practiced on their NCAA-allotted time on their own diamond.

"that's where we are comfortable. He's pitched the first one almost every single time out and we've got a great Friday night pitcher, so he will stay in that role this week and we'll play it one by one. That's how we've really gone about it all year, how we've used the bullpen in games one and two. This particular week we will play game one and see where we are."

Holliday has a healthy respect for Cal-Irvine and Hall of Fame head coach Mike Gillespie. He knows that when you beat number one then you must be good enough to beat just about anybody, and the Anteaters have to work very hard beating the teams in the Big West Conference.

"Because they have to try to beat each other, they have a style of play.," Holliday explained. "They have a Hall of Fame coach in coach [Mike Gillespie]. Sometimes, baseball geographics and the nature of play, in certain areas, you see a reflection of that, how they bunt, how they defend the bunt, run the bases.

"These California ball clubs take a sense of pride in the fundamentals of the game. They spend a lot of time practicing them and they spend a lot of time perfecting those things, a lot like Big 12 football. If you can't defend the pass, then it's tough to play against Big 12 teams. In baseball, it's the same.

"Different conferences have different styles of play, we've seen San Diego, who has a well-coached team. Earlier, we saw Arizona State, who is a good West Coast team. We saw [Cal State] Fullerton and now we're seeing Irvine, so we've seen a cross of programs from west coast who play high end baseball."

Their pitching choice could give the Cowboys issue. Traditionally, it is soft-throwing left handers that cause the most problems for the Pokes batting order. That has kind of continued this season.

"They've announced [Elliot] Surrey for tomorrow and [Andrew] Morales will pitch in the second game," Holliday continued. "[Surrey] is a good pitcher, he's skilled. He's a crafty, skilled performer. He pitches to his strength and knows who he is and they obviously have a lot of trust in him because they brought him in to get the final out in the championship game. He's a confident young man with a lot of know how. We respect him, we've seen pitchers like him and we'll prepare for him like we have everyone all year. There's certain things that he does that makes him tough."

Surrey was described three times by three different people as crafty. He is also a smart pitcher that respects the Cowboys lineup but will not get ahead of himself. You know he looks a little like former Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg Maddox.

"I think you just have to go one pitcher, one batter a time," Surrey said when asked about the Cowboys. "Not try to think about the four-hole hitter when you're trying to pitch to the nine-hole hitter. Just worrying about that one guy who is coming up to the plate and being keyed in one that one pitch."

Something the Cowboys have done all season will come into play again. It's communication and they have done a good job of it, according to both Gage Green and Saulyer Saxon.

"It's pretty important because on film you see how stuff looks but it is important to see it from the hitter's perspective," Saxon explained.

"Everybody does a nice job with that getting up there and coming back with feedback. He's standing away or he's trying to nibble (at the plate) or what the shape is of his curve ball. I think we do a good job of that and that is why we are able to connect our at-bats," Saxon added.

"I think Saul does a good job with it because he is lead off and has the hardest job," confirmed Green, one the Cowboys most dependable hitters. "He's up there and trying to get as many pitches out of the pitcher as possible, so when he sees seven or eight pitches in his first at-bat and tells us what it is. That is why we are hitting so good early in the game because Saul is telling us what he's seeing and we are able to go to the plate prepared."

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