OSU Gets NCAA Bid Delivered By Word Of Mouth

Oklahoma State's baseball team took an unusual approach Monday during the NCAA Selection Show. While most teams across the country were watching as the pairings were announced, head coach Josh Holliday's team was on the field practicing, and only learned of the Cowboys destination when senior Conor Costello came running out of the clubhouse to tell everyone.

It was 11 a.m. Central Time and no doubt most of the hopeful or certain college baseball teams were gathered around a television as ESPNU aired the selection show to detail this year's 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys weren't around the television as the pitching staff was down in the bullpen getting their throwing in or they were running in the outfield. A group featuring shortstop Donnie Walton, freshman designated hitter Colin Simpson and others were taking their swings in the batting cage as head coach Josh Holliday was throwing batting practice. 

Inside the Cowboys clubhouse on the third base line of Allie Reynolds Stadium was senior Conor Costello sneaking a peak at the NCAA Selection Show, and he came out and yelled at Holliday and his teammates, "Going to Clemson and we open with Nebraska."

A rather interesting approach to tournament selection day but Holliday said it was a good choice.

"We gave the guys Saturday and Sunday off and they needed it," said the head coach. "Today it was back to work and their attitude was good and it's about us. We're happy to be in the NCAA Tournament, but it is all about us getting ready, improving in the areas we need to improve off the Big 12 Tournament. We weren't going to get better watching that show. It's about business."

The players echoed the sentiment. It's about gathering this team and getting on the road and preparing to win at least three of their next four games and then winning two of the next three in the Super Regional.

The Cowboys are at Clemson and open with Nebraska, but the winner of that regional will face the winner of the South Carolina Regional in a Super Regional. Holliday pointed out that the last two times Oklahoma State teams have gone to Omaha for the College World Series it was through other team's regional. He was a player the last time it happened when OSU won a regional in Wichita, Kansas, and then beat Baylor in Waco in the Super Regional.

OSU has traveled to Clemson previously for an NCAA Regional in 2009. The Cowboys won their first two games, defeating Alabama and then Clemson, but the host Tigers came back to win two straight against OSU to advance to the Super Regional.

The Cowboys enter the 2016 NCAA Baseball Championship with a 36­-20 record. OSU finished second in the Big 12 Conference regular season standings with a 16-­8 mark.

The 2016 regional berth is the fourth in as many seasons under Holliday. In Holliday's first season at the helm of his alma mater, the Cowboys advanced to the finals of the 2013 NCAA Louisville Regional as the No. 3 seed, and in 2014, top -seeded OSU captured its first Regional championship since 2007. Last season, OSU hosted a regional for a second ­straight year as a No. 1 seed and went 1­-2.

"It should be fun," said OSU senior shortstop Donnie Walton. "I think the pressure is off of us from playing at home — we just go out there and play our game and show the country what we can do. Clemson has a great park, great atmosphere, great baseball background and it should be fun."

OSU is seeking to advance to the fourth NCAA Super Regional in program history (1999, 2007, 2014). Should the Cowboys advance out of the Stillwater Regional, they will face the winner of the NCAA South Carolina Regional in a Super Regional.

The Cowboys have appeared in 19 College World Series, a total that ranks sixth all time, with their last trip coming in 1999.

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