Oklahoma State baseball starts Big 12 play this weekend, where else, but on the road at TCU. It is a Cowboy team that is younger than anticipated and coach Josh Holliday says a Big 12 that is tough and that was expected.
As Josh Holliday gets ready to lead his #16-Oklahoma State (15-6) baseball team this weekend against #3-TCU (14-5) in the Cowboys Big 12 opening series, he could be playing as many as six freshman against the experienced Frogs this weekend. The Cowboys returned plenty of older starters and players set to make a push to start but during the preseason several freshmen like catcher and DH Michael Neustifter, second baseman Ryan Cash, shortstop Cameron Dobbs, DH Cade Cabbiness, starting pitcher Jonathan Heasley, and lefty relief pitcher Parker Scott are all likely to see the field at Lupton Stadium on the TCU campus for games that start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and then nationally televised games on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.
Holliday says the roster isn't laid out by class but by who can help the team at the right time.
"I like it when kids are competing for their own growth and how that impacts the team," Holliday said. "We have a lot of freshmen that are talented players and we have some veteran players that have been on the team and are good players. The bottom line is your age doesn't mean a thing. It comes down to who gives us the best chance to win the game. The experience and the veterans on the club are important because they have seen and done the things that we are about to go into and the youth is good as well because their is an innocence and freedom with which they play with sometimes that makes them pretty hard to figure out."
It is a Big 12 Conference that looks just a little different than it did this time a year ago when college baseball followers were asking what happened to the Big 12? The answer late in the year was three teams in Omaha and two of those in the final four in the College World Series. As of this weekend, Texas is 0-3 in the Big 12 and still struggling. Kansas is below .500, but the rest are pretty stout. TCU ranked third in the nation. Texas Tech is third in the USA Today poll and 17-4 on the season and 3-0 in the Big 12. Baylor is 17-4 and 2-1 in the Big 12. West Virginia is 2-1 in the Big 12 and 10-8 overall, playing mostly on the road. Oklahoma is 21-4 and Kansas State 15-6.
"TCU has been the preseason number one team in the country and still in the top three," Holliday said. "You mentioned all the good teams and I like that the teams in our league have gone out and played challenging games and they have won a lot of those games."