By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Big 12 Conference’s two best baseball teams will face off Tuesday in a nonconference, mid-week affair when No. 19 Oklahoma State travels to Norman to take on No. 10 Oklahoma in a Bedlam battle at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity of going down there and playing a really good ballclub,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “That’s what this is all about. You’ve got to play really good teams and figure out how to beat them if you want to be serious about where you’re trying to head.”
While Holliday is no stranger to Bedlam baseball — having played in several series during his time at Oklahoma State — Tuesday’s game will be his first as a head coach of his alma mater.
“Back when I played ... it was a lot of fun. Where else in college can you play in front of crowds of 10 to 12,000 in an extremely good competition with lots of people who care what the outcome is?” Holliday said. “I thought those games were fantastic, so I look forward to them again. But at the same time, they have a very good team and we’ll need to just play good baseball.”
With the contest not counting toward the conference standings and being a mid-week game it is unlikely that fans will get to witness a matchup of the team’s aces Jason Hursh of Oklahoma State and OU’s Jonathan Gray — that will likely wait until the conference series in early May.
And though the game won’t count in the standings, it will definitely hold some weight when it comes to postseason alignment and confidence heading into the three-game series May 10-12 to be played at ONEOK Field in Tulsa and Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
“I’m excited for it. Going down to Norman and see if we can get a little piece of those guys,” OSU’s Saulyer Saxon said. “It’ll be fun.”
For Saxon, there is some personal bragging rights, as well.
The junior from Shawnee has high school friends on the OU roster, including Gray — a right-hander from Chandler with a 5-1 record and 1.34 ERA who is being projected to be a top three prospect in the 2013 MLB Draft.
“I hear about how good there are because I have some friends on their team and I have a bunch of friends who go to OU,” Saxon said. “They are always asking if we can beat them or if we can compete with those guys. It’s going to be a lot fun.”