Maybe this is where the Cowboys want to be.
Maybe this is where a resilient Oklahoma State baseball team feels more comfortable, backs against the wall, one loss away from extinction.
From here on out, starting with Thursday's 9 a.m. game against Kansas State, the Cowboys are in elimination mode at the Big 12 Baseball Tournament. Win and move on. Lose and enjoy the summer.
“I think we will play well,” OSU coach Frank Anderson said Wednesday morning after the Cowboys' 1-0 opening-round loss to Oklahoma. “But that doesn't guarantee victory.”
It's a familiar place for the 2012 Cowboys.
After a sluggish 1-5 start to conference play, OSU was counted out, widely viewed as a conference afterthought and NCAA Tournament long shot.
There was the dropped pop up that would have sealed the game at TCU, turning a potentially huge road win into a bad series loss. There was the three-run extra-inning double at Baylor, erased by a diving outfielder.
And there were the two arrests, one of them ending the career of Gabe Weidenaar, OSU's starting left fielder and second-leading hitter (.317).
Plagued by bad breaks and worse mistakes, the Cowboys looked finished. Just like their current tournament situation.
But back in early April, sitting in the Big 12 cellar, they battled through adversity and won 12 of their next 15 conference games, skyrocketing up the standings and into NCAA tournament projection fields.
“It hasn't always gone right for us at the end,” Anderson said. “But our guys have always played well and played hard.”
Four straight losses, including Wednesday's tournament opener to OU, have once again sent this roller coaster ride into a late-season tailspin.
To win the tournament, OSU must win five games in the next four days, with some of the Big 12's top teams awaiting the Cowboys if they advance.
And they must do it all without ace Andrew Heaney, who's rocket arm was wasted in a valiant effort on Wednesday, giving up three hits in a complete game Bedlam loss. Anderson said Heaney might be available if they make Sunday's championship.
So this isn't unfamiliar territory for a snakebit yet resilient team. The conference climb is unlikely and daunting, but not something OSU isn't used to.
“We are still going to try to come out and win,” Heaney said. “We are not just going to roll over. I expect the same thing, the same way we have been playing, but hopefully we can just be a little cleaner and maybe get a couple breaks.”