By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State baseball fans will get their first chance to see first-year coach Josh Holliday in action Tuesday during OSU’s home opener against Alcorn State — a midweek doubleheader — at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
It’ll be the perfect opportunity for fans to see the new Cowboys baseball product coming off a series win over No. 21 New Mexico over the weekend, which ended in a 9-1 loss in the finale Sunday.
“For the program to open up at home, for the kids to put on the home white uniforms and play in front of their fans, is really momentum from our banquet where our fan base came out and gave these kids a tremendous shot in the arm in terms of energy,” Holliday said. “... I hope that same type of energy will enter the ballpark (Tuesday) and if it does, I think the players will continue to feel that interest.”
While it may be early in the season, Holliday already got a good look at the character of his team in the first two games against the Lobos. In both contests, OSU had to rally from eight runs behind in the final innings with Saturday’s comeback being the biggest in 20 years of the Cowboy program.
“It was the largest come-from-behind win since 1996, no OSU team has trailed by that many runs, that late in the game and rallied back to win,” Holliday said. “To tap into that type of comeback, it means a lot to the kids because now they know that is always in there for them. When you can build moments over the course of the season that your team can look back to and draw strength from, that’s part of the process of developing the team.”
Holliday also mentioned how important it is for a team to learn how to be able to win on the road like his squad did this weekend.
“You look across the country and only two teams in America went on the road and won a series against a top 25 team; that was Oklahoma State and San Diego State — and San Diego State just drove six miles to University of San Diego to do that,” the first-year coach said. “So in terms of getting on an airplane and traveling to a ranked opponent and winning in their ballpark, our kids went out and did that. So you’ve got to show them what they’ve done so they can realize what they are capable of.
“It’s a very important start because you have to be a competent road team if you want to survive and you’re serious about your conference. Because we have road trips on the horizon that will certainly test us.”
While Holliday is happy with the series win on opening weekend, he doesn’t want his players to become complacent. He now expects his squad to use the two-game series with Alcorn State — which has become a doubleheader due to the chance of snow — as a chance to work on mistakes from the UNM series that saw OSU trailing in 17 innings, while the Cowboys led in just five innings.
“It’ll be good to get some more guys out on the mound and keep trying to build on what we learned this past weekend in New Mexico,” Holliday said. “Midweek baseball is really important to continue to take what you just did, improve upon your mistakes, maintain the rhythm and confidence derived from those ballgames and try to continue to build that head of steam.”