Yes, Friday night under the desert moon as Josh Holliday will start his fifth season as the head coach at his alma mater as the Oklahoma State Cowboys open with a three-game set against Grand Canyon University. The Lopes play at Brazzell Stadium in Phoenix and the game times are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (all Central time). They will finish out the road trip at 3 p.m. Tuesday with 25th-ranked Arizona State.
A huge bonus is all three games in the series will be available on the internet with the Friday and Sunday games on YouTube-based GCU.tv and the Saturday game is on ESPN3 on the ESPN website. Rex Holt will be out there and will have all the games on the radio on either the Cowboy Radio Network or one of Stillwater Radio's stations, either 93.7 FM or 780 AM.
Holliday is assisted by Rob "The Wizard" Walton coaching the pitchers and James Vilade handling working defense and third base.
The Cowboys are expected to start pre-season All-American right-hander Tyler Buffett on the mound for the Friday opener. The 6-2, 197-pound Buffett is a senior who returned for this season despite being picked in the seventh round of the MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. Buffer was 9-3 last season with a 2.81 ERA and opposing hitters hit just .259 against him.
Sophomore Jensen Elliott is expected to be the Saturday starter as the 6-6, 210-pound Texan from Coppell was also 9-3 in 2016 and had a 3.50 ERA with opposing hitters batting just .248 against him. Stillwater native and left-hander Carson Teel is slated to start on Sunday. The 6-0, 171-pound Teel had a 1-0 record last season in 17 appearances and a 2.70 ERA.
The line-up for the Cowboys looks to have Edmond sophomore Colin Simpson, nicknamed "Tank," at catcher. The 5-9, 221-pound Simpson was a DH much of last season and hit .212 with nine RBI and two home runs.
Big 12 home run leader Dustin Williams, who had 23 round trippers and 42 RBI, is back at first base. Junior Andrew Rosa is at second base after hitting .257 in a bench role last season. Jacob Chappell from Guthrie goes from taking care of the pet dinosaur from last season to playing shortstop, and veteran Garrett Benge is back at third with his .292 average and 40 RBI.
The outfield is experienced with Jon Littell in right field. Littell hit .258 last season and 23 RBI. Ryan Sluder is back in center field where his defense was invaluable with the diving catch in Omaha at the College World Series being a permanent memory. Garrett McCain out of Wylie, Texas is set to move into left field. He hit .203 last season playing in 43 games and starting 21.
Grand Canyon is coming off a 25-28-1 season with the team's standout being WAC Player of the Year prospect Garrison Schwartz in the outfield. Last season he hit .307 with 37 RBI.