Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

March 31, 2014

Cowboy baseball keeps it exciting

STILLWATER, Okla. — Josh Holliday, Oklahoma State’s second-year head baseball coach, has numerous positive personality traits. Patience must be one of them.

The same could be said of Cowboy pitching Coach Rob Walton and assistant coach Marty Lees.

All three are having their patience tested by this Cowboy team, which improved to 19-9 overall and to 3-3 in the Big 12 Conference with a 9-4 victory over Texas Christian Sunday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.

After a come-from-behind one-run win over Texas-Pan American earlier this season, Holliday talked with a friend who said “that was a very exciting game.”

“Every game with this team is going to be exciting,” Holliday replied.

Holliday and his staff have watched as Oklahoma State struggles to get a key hit that would offer some breathing room.

Instead, OSU has a habit of waiting until the final inning and sometimes the final out before producing. OSU also leaves base runners aboard as evidenced by the nine left on base, including two in the final inning, in the 3-1 loss to TCU in the series opener.

In the Texas-Pan American series for example the Pokes lost the opener 3-1 but won the second 4-3 and the finale 7-6, both in the final inning.

Last week featured a 3-2 11th inning win against visiting Missouri State and a 2-1 win over TCU last Friday to even the Big 12 series.

The 2-1 victory Friday was the 11th come-from-behind win this season for the Cowboys, who visit Bedlam rival Oklahoma tonight. OSU is 7-0 in one-run games this season.

Tim Arakawa, who didn’t have a hit in three previous plate appearances, smacked the walk-off, game-winning single in Friday’s win over TCU. It was Arakawa’s second game-winner this season.

While the offense struggles to put teams away it remains confident when the final out is on the line. That’s an admirable approach but one that is stressful for coaches and fans.

While having their patience tested, the coaches expect the offense, which has a collective batting average of .261, to become more productive. There are players in the lineup who have produced on this stage. Sunday’s 13-hit effort against TCU might be a start.

Senior Tanner Krietemeier is a good example. A year ago, Krietemeier led the Pokes in hitting with a .314 batting average. After 28 games in 2014, he’s batting .209 but leads OSU with six home runs and 21 runs-batted-in.

All-Big 12 outfielder Zach Fish leads the Cowboys at the plate with a .333 batting average while Gage Green is hitting .321 and sophomore Donnie Walton .290.

There are talented newcomers experiencing growing pains on this level. There is break out potential within that group.

Until it happens, OSU coaches will continue teaching, being positive and work at being patient.

Ron Holt is a columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Holt was a sports editor for The News Press for nearly 30 years and still resides in Stillwater.

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