Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

June 6, 2014

Cowboys hoping for spot in College World Series

No matter who won Monday night’s game, Oklahoma State baseball coach Josh Holliday knew his team would face a challenge in the Super Regional. Either they would face the No. 1 overall seed Oregon State or the team that beat the overall No. 1 seed — UC Irvine.

The Cowboys (48-16) will look to punch their ticket to the College World Series in Omaha for the first time since 1999 as they take on UC Irvine.

“I wasn’t really rooting because sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for,” Holliday said. “... We are playing at home but we are playing a ball club that just won a tournament. They have a lot to bring too.”

In Friday’s 8:30 p.m. opener at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium the Cowboys will face left hander Elliott Surrey (7-4, 2.13 ERA) who defeated Oregon State on Saturday and pitched the last inning of Monday’s victory to earn the save. On Saturday, he pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on three hits, walked three and struck out eight. Holliday said he is very skilled.

“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,” Holliday said. “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.”

Facing solid pitching is nothing new for Oklahoma State. In last weekend’s regional the Cowboys put up 19 runs on a Cal State Fullerton pitching staff that entered the tournament with a team ERA of 2.01. Junior outfielder Gage Green said they have confidence they can hit against tough arms.

“Just let them pitch,” Green said. “We aren't going to worry about who they are. We're just going to worry about staying with our approach and executing. If we do our thing and execute, we're going to be a hard team to stop offensively. It's reassuring to know that you executed so well against a good pitching staff like Fullerton, so we're just going to take the same approach against UC Irvine.”

Oklahoma State posted an NCAA leading .355 team batting average during regionals. Senior outfielder Saulyer Saxon said they have good communication about what pitchers are throwing.

“I think that it's pretty important because on film you see footage that we're going to see from a hitter's perspective,” Saxon said. “After their at bats we go back and give feedback. I think it's a pretty important thing, and I think it's something we do really well at and that's why we're able to make our at bats.”

Jon Perrin (8-4, 2.23 ERA) — who emerged as the Friday night starter and ace — will take the hill for Oklahoma State. Perrin pitched seven innings in the Cowboys 13-7 victory over Cal State Fullerton in regionals last Saturday.

“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,” Holliday said. “That's how we've really gone about it all year, how we've used the bullpen in games one and two.”

Friday will be the first time Oklahoma State has played UC Irvine since beating them 4-3 in the 1979 Texas-Pan American Tournament in Edinburg, Texas. It’s not the first time they’ve gone against teams from the West Coast. Before last weekend’s two games against Cal State Fullerton, Oklahoma State played four games against Arizona State and three against San Diego. The Cowboys went 6-3 in those games.

“Sometimes, baseball geographics and the nature of play, in certain areas, you see a reflection of that,” Holliday said. “How they bunt, how they defend the bunt, run the bases, these California ball clubs take a sense of pride in how 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.”

Game 2 is at 9 p.m. Saturday and the third game, if necessary will be at 8 p.m. Sunday. All three games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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