Tahlequah Daily Press

May 21, 2014

Bedlam begins again in Big 12 tournament opener

Oklahoma State carries 3-2 record against Sooners this season into conference tournament

By JASON ELMQUIST
CNHI

— The Bedlam baseball rivals are all too familiar with each other by now.

So there likely won’t be any surprises when top-seeded Oklahoma State and No. 8 seed Oklahoma square off for the sixth time this season in the first round of the Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship Wednesday afternoon at Bricktown Ballpark.

“I’ve never had to play them six times in a year,” Oklahoma State junior Zach Fish said. “But we’re definitely excited. They are a great ball club, it’s a great rivalry and its once again on a big stage for us.”

The Cowboys have claimed three wins in the series this season, but the Sooners have the latest victory — avoiding the three-game sweep last weekend with an 8-1 rout Saturday in Tulsa.

“They know us pretty well by now,” Fish said. “This is my third year to be a part of it and they seem to be a quality ball club every single year and you have to respect that.”

But the Big 12 tournament brings a lot of history crashing down on the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State, winner of its first Big 12 regular season title, has won just one conference tournament game since 2008 and are riding a seven-game losing streak in the event.

In fact, since winning the 2004 tournament under then first-year coach Frank Anderson, the Cowboys are 4-16 in the conference championship — including an 0-3 mark last year as the second seed.

“I think for us we’re going to go out and build off of what happened last year,” Fish said. “I think the biggest thing for us this year is not dwelling on the negatives and just play the best baseball we can.”

The Cowboys will receive their trophy for winning the Big 12 regular season trophy — the first conference crown since a run of 16 straight in the Big Eight from 1980 to 1996 — prior to Wednesday’s contest in Oklahoma City.

“Winning the regular season title was a tremendous piece of our season, but it’s a part of the season that is now in the rearview mirror,” Cowboy coach Josh Holliday said. “Where we’re looking ahead now is going to be Game 1 in the conference tournament, so we’ve got to transition our focus.”