With top options such as Jon Perrin, Tyler Nurdin and Vince Wheeland in need of rest, Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday will likely turn to a host of young pitchers Saturday as the Cowboys look to make a run at the Big 12 tournament title.
OSU youngsters such as freshmen Blake Battenfield, Garrett Williams and Thomas Hatch have shown promise at times this season, but now they’ll have to do it against top competition. No. 7 OSU faces No. 19 Texas on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
“We’ve got some good young arms that are fresh we can throw tomorrow, and it’ll be an awesome opportunity for somebody to go out there and get a start that hasn’t had one in a while,” Holliday said. “That’s how you find people. That’s one thing these tournaments are good for.”
FISH GOES DOWN
Oklahoma State’s Zach Fish, the Big 12 Player of the Year, left Friday’s game against Oklahoma in the fourth inning after an apparent right ankle injury.
With OSU leading 4-3 in the fourth, Fish slid into second base on a steal and immediately grabbed the ankle in pain before trainers helped him off the field. Holliday said postgame Fish rolled his ankle and the team will wait until morning to further evaluate his status.
SOONERS LOOK FORWARD
Oklahoma’s season is done after an 11-8 loss to Oklahoma State on Friday, but coach Pete Hughes is optimistic for the future after his first season.
“I love being a part of the University of Oklahoma,” Hughes said. “Better days are ahead, I promise you that. It’s a great product to recruit to, and we will recruit tirelessly. We start tomorrow.”
The Sooners finish 2014 with a 29-29 record and will look to build on a solid base of young players with infielder/pitcher Sheldon Neuse leading the way as reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
“I think we played our best ball at the end of the season, and I think it’s definitely going to carry over into the fall and into next season for sure,” Neuse said.
FANS GET CREATIVE TO FIGHT RAIN
Some fans at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark lucked out during Friday’s two-hour rain delay before Oklahoma and Oklahoma State played for the seventh time this season.
Stadium staff at the Big 12 Baseball Tournament handed out free Phillips 66 windshield shades for cars, suggesting fans use them as makeshift umbrellas.
After the rain settled, many fans used the same shades to cover their wet seats. The game was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but it didn’t get going until 9:05 thanks to heavy rain.
MOUNTAINEERS HAND FATE TO COMMITTEE
A 9-4 loss to Baylor eliminated West Virginia from the Big 12 Tournament, leaving the Mountaineers’ NCAA tournament fate up in the air.
West Virginia (28-26 overall, 9-14 Big 12) finished the regular season as the Big 12’s No. 6 team after losing its final seven games. However, the Mountaineers entered this week ranked No. 31 in RPI thanks to earlier success and playing one of the toughest road schedules in the NCAA.
West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said postgame his team deserves a shot.
“We’re very deserving,” Mazey said. “That was our 41st away from our campus... I don’t know where the RPI will sit after this loss, but we’ll definitely be in the Top 40, I’m sure.
“But it’s like in boxing. They always tell you, ‘Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges.’ That’s what we’ve done at this point, so hopefully a couple of things go our way and we can continue to play.”
BAYLOR’S DOE HITS SPECIAL HOMER
Brett Doe had never hit a home run in two years as a Baylor Bear. That changed Friday in the Bears’ win against West Virginia, when Doe sent a slider down the left field line and over the wall in the fourth inning.
“Proud is an understatement,” Doe said. “When you haven’t hit one in two years, then you finally hit that one and you know it’s gone, it’s a feeling like no other... I felt like a little kid again hitting my first home run. And I think it got us going, got my teammates fired up because they knew what it meant to me.”
The solo shot tied the game at that point, though Baylor went on to an easy win. Baylor plays TCU at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“I think I’ll be replaying it a few times between now and when my head hits the pillow,” Doe said. “Honestly, I went up there a few times this year thinking, ‘You know what, this is the time I’m gonna hit a home run,’ and I’d hit a lazy fly out or something.
“The pitcher was up there throwing nasty pitches, so I knew I had to just stay through it, keep that thing fair. It was a good slider, coming inside. I just got inside the ball and drove it.”